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John Walmsley/ Street Photography

"I studied photography at art school, leaving in 1968. Since then, I’ve been a freelance documentary photographer supplying photos to book publishers worldwide, UK government departments and charities.

The photos I’m most proud of all came from self-started projects, not commissions. These are stories I was interested in and followed for as long as necessary (one is nearing completion after 40 years). I doubt any made a profit but that wasn’t why I did them. These are the ones which have ‘lasted’ and have provided my ‘best’ images.

My work, in one form or another, is at the National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain Library, the National Art Library at the V&A, the V&A Museum of Childhood, Liverpool Museum, la Bibliothèque nationale de France and the Library at the University of California, San Diego.

It has also been published in 1,000+ books worldwide.

I’m in the process of self-publishing several eBooks of my stories which should soon be available.

When I start on a story, I just begin and then see where we go. It’s not usually with the thought to show something in particular. It might develop into a story or might provide only individual shots, I don’t mind which as long as something memorable comes from the time spent.

Throughout my working life, I’ve been careful to retain copyright in all my photos. These days, people see an image, usually online, copy it and use it how they like without asking or paying the original artist. Photographers now have a system for chasing them and making them pay. Personally, I have settled 160+ cases myself. Others have been settled by lawyers. I do not understand why people accept they have to pay plumbers, for instance, but feel there’s no need to pay creative people. Artists should be paid, too!

So, I give a Zoom talk, ‘Getting your ducks in a row’ to groups of artists/photographers/authors about being business-like from the beginning, protecting their copyright and standing up for themselves. Currently, I’m looking into how to set up something similar for artists."


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