SOPHIE BATTERBURY, PICTURE EDITOR AT THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

Monday, 21 May 2012


As picture editor at the Independent on Sunday, Sophie Batterbury sees thousands of images every day. Here she tells us how she chooses photographers for commissions and why she is wary of citizen journalism…

How did you get into photo editing? 
I wanted to be a photographer. I got a job in the Independent darkroom. I gradually realised that everybody else was a much better photographer than I was and that standing around in the rain was not as glamorous as you might have thought. So I stuck with the darkroom and then was night picture editor and it developed from there. I didn’t study photography at university – I’d done an A level but that was it. I don’t look at whether a photographer’s got a degree or not – I don’t care. I either like the work or I don’t. It doesn’t matter if they’ve been doing it for forty years or six months.

What do you look for when deciding whether to commission a photographer? 
I look for a strong, concise book to start with, but also for someone who comes across as fairly together because they are my eyes. I can’t hold their hand; I can’t expect the reporter to hold their hand. It’s more a type of personality. [You need to be able to] get on well with people but not be afraid of them, to be easy going but confident, ready to adapt to the situation. You need to be able to charm people as well and to seem like you know what you’re doing. Finally, someone who’s organised: it doesn’t matter how fantastic the pictures are if I don’t get them in time because the computer’s run out of battery or something.


Read the full article on IdeasMag.

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