Tough news into PAN this afternoon – UK stock photo library fotoLibra will close on the Monday 1st June.
The library was set up seventeen years ago by Gwyn Headley and Yvonne Seeley – Gwyn sent this note to his contributing photographers summing up the situation and understandable reasons for shutting the library:
It is with great sadness that we have to inform you that we will be closing down VisConPro Ltd, trading as fotoLibra, with effect from Monday 1st June.This hasn’t been directly caused by the Coronavirus lockdown, although that certainly hasn’t helped. We designed the business so it would effectively run itself with minimum interference from us and in fact it does that — but one stock agency’s dominance of the market and the rise of absurdly cheap royalty-free imagery is such that most professional picture buyers are contracted to that agency and their allies, and are energetically dissuaded by their managers from buying outside a tightly closed circle of suppliers.
This year the firm’s income has barely covered the web hosting, let alone the credit card handling & bank charges.
Despite having over a million images online, our total sales last month were negligible. Unfortunately, the business is no longer viable.
fotoLibra has been running for seventeen years. In a way we invented the wheel: we were the first ever fully digital picture library, and now they all are — but we couldn’t have done it without your help and interest. Thank you so much for your support, help and encouragement over the years. We are truly grateful to you, and we are so sorry that we have had to come to this decision.
We hope you are keeping well in these difficult times.
With very best wishes,
Gwyn Headley and Yvonne Seeley
The spirit by which the library was run is summed up for PAN in the words Gwyn sent over for their PAN Photo Library listing which ran for many years – which read:
fotoLibra – everything including the kitchen sink
With over 850,000 images [now 1M] from BC to today, the open access picture library fotoLibra has the most surprising and imaginative range of images in the UK — everything bar fine art and slebs. More than 10,000 photographers in 160+ countries will go out and shoot for you on spec — no charge till you buy. How good is that?
Gwyn also told PAN on a couple of points we asked about that I’m sure some readers will want to know – “Yes, the site will disappear on June 1st, along with the contributors’ images which will be erased. Some contributors were using us as a storage facility and don’t have copies of their images at home, and we are looking for a bulk download solution for those members.”