‘Crucial that photographers stick together’

RENOWNED photographer David Redfern, president of the British Association of Picture Libraries and Archives (BAPLA), distributes work through Redferns Music Picture Library, (www.redferns.com) which holds 250,000 of his images. At the well-attended April Branch meeting, David showed us pictures he'd taken over the last 50 years, working on spec and retaining copyright. He pointed out that before the 1988 Copyright Act, photographers - unlike writers and other "authors" - lost their copyright when working on commission.

David Redfern with Jimi Hendrix: photo © David Hoffman
David Redfern with Jimi Hendrix

Nowadays, "the artists all want control" and photographers specialising, like David, in music can get close to artists only during rehearsals or sound-checks. During gigs it's "three photos and out" - or two, at the least photographer-friendly venue, the Barbican Centre.

Looking back, David said it was amazing how much access he got as a photographer - front row seats and being left alone to hang out all day with artists at TV and recording studios. And hang out he did, with Frank Sinatra, Jimmy Hendrix (his best-selling pic), Dizzy Gillespie, Kenny Ball, Robbie Coltrane, BB King, Dave Brubeck, the Beatles on location on Magical Mystery Tour, Thelonius Monk and Louis Armstrong... Dave didn't reveal his rate for use of his photos of the last two artists on US postage stamps.

David advised all photographers to watermark their work to keep their rights data attached to it. He added that it was crucial that photographers stick together - they had been weakened somewhat by the lack of practicing photographers involved in running agencies or joining BAPLA (www.bapla.org.uk) as vendors, although Andrew Wiard www.andrew-wiard.com and David Hoffman www.hoffmanphotos .com and do both. Photographer and Branch vice-chair Dave Rotchelle admitted that David Redfern had been his boyhood inspiration for his career choice.

[Site map] Last modified: 03 May 2008 - © 2008 contributors
The Freelance editor is elected by London Freelance Branch and responsibility for content lies solely with the editors of the time
Send comments to the editors: editor@londonfreelance.org