Open, inclusive and forward thinking, Redeye is essentially a brilliant photographers’ network. Since 1999, they’ve been building effective partnerships with different groups across the UK; they’ve set up collaborative projects, a programme of peer to peer talks from leading lights in the industry (including not so long ago, Paul Hill, my tutor from De Montford Uni) and exhibitions. They’ve also offered professional insight and practical support to all their members. I got involved with Redeye in 2004 when my business was just getting started and the advice I was able to source from them, particularly in relation to image usage and royalties, was invaluable.
Now, Redeye is celebrating its 20th. birthday. I joined the team, and some of Redeye’s partners, funders and membership, in Liverpool to “party like it’s” 1999. The party started with a photography tour of the city, appropriately enough, in partnership with the LOOK Photo Biennial. Following a diverse mix of pop up installations and presentations the tour brought us to Constellations for live music and speeches from the Arts Council and Redeye Director, Paul Hermann.
There were also free copies of the Redeye 20 commemorative publication, with selected images from some of the photographers and organisations they’ve been involved with across the years. My image of the Courteeners at Old Trafford, five days after the Manchester Arena bombing has found it’s way into this really special pack of 20 cards, and I have to say that’s really gratifying. Clearly, it’s great to be recognised in a peer to peer context. But also I’m pleased to be very visibly associated with an organisation that genuinely delivers for photographers.
Throughout the evening, there was a great feeling of warmth and solidarity. Professional photography is going through a huge sea-change just now, with increasing competition from the amateur market and downward pressure on royalties. I was recently paid just 26p for publication of an image of the Rolling Stones. So, it will be interesting to see where we’re at in another ten or 20 years. Whatever happens, I have no doubt Redeye will be there, in our corner, doing its best to help us successfully navigate a way through. I for one appreciate the effort.