It's not just our photographers that are helping to capture the world through photography, there are thousands of people working hard behind the scenes across the world to bring these images to you.

In this 'Who We Are' series, we look at the many job roles at a photography agency from picture editors, to sales and marketing to art directors. 

First, we sit down with Bette Lynch, Director of Photography for EMEA at our Camden offices, London.

What does your job involve?
My job is to ensure that Getty Images has the very best possible news coverage from the region for which I’m responsible, which is EMEA, and that the photographers are equipped to do their jobs to the best of their ability.

What skills do you need?
Mostly you have to be curious about the world around you. There is a lot of hard work that goes into making sure photographers are in the right place at the right time to cover the stories that need to be covered and you need to be tenacious, organised, informed, balanced and totally addicted to the news and the stories it throws up.

How did you get where you are today?
I didn’t go to university choosing instead to work in the days when three ok A levels could get you an ok job. I fell into the newly launched Independent newspaper and soon gravitated towards the picture desk. I spent the next 20 years working on the picture desks of national newspapers, from a down desk researcher in the early days to working my way up the desk to becoming a picture editor before moving over to Getty seven years ago.

What gets you out of bed in the morning?
The news and the great sense of anticipation I get from what each new day will hold.

What was the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Check facts and details and once you’ve checked them, check them again.

What has been the hardest lesson you’ve learned?
News rooms can be a very male dominated environment and it took me a while to realise that, as a woman, you have to push that bit harder to achieve what you want. You have to be brave enough to stick your head above the parapet by some way and develop a very thick skin. Once you understand that the profession is hugely rewarding.

 Bette at her desk at the Getty Images offices in Camden, London.

What is your philosophy towards work/work ethic?
Working in the news is a vocation, there is no 9-5, it is total immersion and never just a job. You need to be up to speed on all major stories, current events, politics, ongoing themes and that requires you to be constantly reading, watching, asking, learning about what goes on around you. You have to be passionate about it and to sacrifice a degree of personal life to it. I’m also very curious (or nosey!) and it’s that desire to know more before the general public that pushes me on.

What has been the highlight of your career so far?
I’ve been privileged to work on many major news stories and big set pieces from general elections to royal weddings (and funerals) and I have absolutely loved being part of every major story I’ve worked on and the incredible people I’ve worked with. On a personal note I get invited to Downing Street for drinks twice a year and regardless of politics I always attend because it makes my Dad very proud that I get to go inside and have a glass of wine with the Prime Minister.

What legacy would you like to leave behind you?
To have played my part in creating and forming an editorial service that is second to none and sets us apart from our competitors with its depth and range of coverage.

Who is your favourite photographer/favourite photograph?
I am rather partial to a Slim Aarons for my walls at home but in general I admire any photographer who is willing to take risks to show the public exactly what is going on in this world whether that be from a domestic point of view to major international stories. Press freedom is becoming increasingly curtailed both in the UK and abroad and now is the time to get behind our photographers who do a vital job in keeping the public informed when governments might not want them to, whatever the story.

What excites you about photography?
The old adage of “a picture is worth a thousand words” is true and one belting image can smack a person round the face where having to read 1,000 words just won’t have that same impact. In particular with the onset of online media, twitter, instagram the ability to get imagery in front of millions of people on a daily basis is very exciting for me. Far from fearing the demise of print media (which I really don’t believe will ever happen) I think we should embrace every new avenue that allows us to tell our stories to the public every single day in all its new forms.

What is your ambition?
To be the very best news and picture editor that I can be and to help my colleagues be the best that they can be.

Join the conversation. Tweet @bette68 with #gettyinfocus

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