Matthew Butson, Vice President at the Getty Images Hulton Archive has looked after its vast collection for over 30 years and is well versed in the wide variety of images it contains, from vintage photography by the likes of Man Ray and Julia Margaret Cameron, to shots of virtually every significant news, entertainment or sports event over the past 100 plus years.
Butson first began working at archive when it was simply known as the Hulton and was owned by the BBC – “a culturally very different place,” he says – and stayed through its ownership by Brian Deutsch in 1988 (when the archive was known as Hulton Deutsch) and its purchase by Getty Images in 1996.
Here we talk to him about the importance of protecting analogue imagery in the digital age, how Getty chooses what to digitise (less than 1% of the collection is available in digital form), and how, despite our obsession with taking photographs, we are missing out on capturing some of the key moments of our contemporary world.
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