25th April 1956: Swedish youth show their appreciation for the band performing at Scandinavia's most popular dance club, 'Nalen' in Stockholm. (Photo by John Firth/BIPs/Getty Images)

FOCAL Award highlights team’s (encyclopedic!) knowledge of archival content

June 24, 2013 | By Matthew Butson | Archive, Video

Recently we were named Footage Library of the Year by the FOCAL International Awards 2013, a prestigious honor.

This is thrilling on many levels, but most importantly, because we were nominated by clients who praised not only the quality of our footage but the ease of being able to license archive footage in HD, the quick turnaround on requests and the service provided by our staff.

Service and speed are important to us, of course. But there’s no way we would be able to deliver this without the collective strength of the Archival team as well as the extraordinary depth and breadth of our content, both from a stills and video perspective.

What many people don’t know is that we have a staff of who have both a deep understanding as well as huge passion for our content, as well as history. In short – we live, breathe, eat, sleep all things archive! For example when we acquired the legendary music archives – Redferns in the UK and Michael Ochs Archive in the US – we retained their staff who, between them, had decades upon decades of collective experience in the industry as well as an encyclopedic knowledge of music. This kind of knowledge is priceless when customers are looking for specific imagery – however obscure the brief. In fact between just four deep file researchers in our UK office we have collectively nearly eight decades of experience.

When it comes to video specifically, Lee Shoulders is – quite simply — a legend within the business. Based in New York, what Lee doesn’t know about the footage industry and video in general is simply not worth knowing and what is especially important are the relationships she has developed over the years. Lee, like our other experts in other areas of the archive, Lee is regarded as much as a friend by our clients as she is a content expert at Getty Images.

But the most important thing is that we work together, as a team. When a client calls with a request of an iconic image such as Eisenstadt’s VJ Day Kiss in Times Square, we can deliver. When a client calls wanting something out of the ordinary, we can delve into our 85 million images via our Deep File Research team (remember only a small percentage is actually on-line) and come up with something truly special and often unseen and unpublished. In some cases where a client wants something that doesn’t exist, we’ll always attempt to track down the impossible – even when wanting a photograph of Jesus (I kid you not). In short, we know how to leverage each others’ strengths to deliver as quickly as possible – or politely suggest an alternative, certainly in the case of a photograph of Jesus!

For those that have experienced the grand tour of our hallowed archives, they go away knowing they’ve seen something truly special and our imagery engages on an emotive level – however the image or video maybe used. We’ve been called an Aladdin’s cave of treasures – and not for good reason…you never quite know what might turn up next! Winning awards – such as the Focal Award is certainly fantastic…but the biggest prize of all is simply working with our wonderful content day in day out!

Editor’s note: Matt Butson is Getty Images Vice President, Hulton Archive.

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