It’s 7.45am and all is quiet in the old Dental Hospital; only me and a mouse. My fingers start their daily workout across the keyboard as I start to respond to the never-ending stream of e-mails that queue up for my attention.
What have I got requests for today? An Egyptian Mummy, some Lewis chess pieces, the Cramond Lioness, netsuke and a silver golfing trophy? Digital photography already available, that makes life easier.
Some wooden panels from St Nicholas Church in Aberdeen? Specific panels are in storage at Granton with no photography on file so Curators and Photography will need to co-ordinate to get these done.
Some ceiling panels from Rossend Castle which are on display in the National Museum of Scotland? A search through Adlib, our collections management database, shows that there is no existing photography on file. I speak with our in-house Photography department, and make a trip across the road to see if photography in situ would be a possibility. Where are they? Adlib definitely said they were in the ‘Scotland Defined’ gallery. Then the light-bulb moment; they’re displayed on the ceiling and I’ve walked under them several times! This makes any new photography slightly problematic.
Now with my publishing hat on, I have high res images and permissions to clear from 53 different institutions around the world such as Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the United States. Thank goodness for e-mail!
So in case you thought that I get to sit and look at pretty pictures all day, here are some Image Library stats. In the past year we have received and responded to 361 new enquiries and completed 151 orders. Some orders take several years to complete from the initial enquiry to the final payment of all reproduction fees; others can be completed in a morning. We supply images for TV, film, book covers, exhibition panels, academic journals and web use. It never gets boring and I still get asked for objects that I’ve never seen before, so my ‘favourite thing’ constantly changes. Thanks to the patience and assistance from Photographers and Curators, I can usually keep the customers happy.