Matthew Butson has overseen the archive at Getty Images for the past 12 years and has been with the archive for almost three decades. As well as overseeing the stills and video side of the archival business.
The archive itself is arguably the world’s largest and having spent time trying to become a studio engineer at the BBC, having originally been employed in the Gramophone Library, Matt joined the Hulton – then part of the Beeb in 1985. Initially pulling (and filing) negatives for darkroom orders, Matt later turned his hand to most aspects of the archival business including sales, marketing, production, collections management and digitization before finally becoming VP in 2002.
In 2009, Matt was awarded the J Dudley Johnston Award by the Royal Photographic Society, for his outstanding contribution to photography and was awarded a Fellowship by the Society in 2013.
Matthew is married with two children and lives in Coulsdon, Surrey. In his spare time, he is a singer and songwriter - as well as a keen photographer. Now on the wrong side of 50, Matt still has delusions of his band – Helter Skelter - hitting the big time.
Area of speciality: History, Archival Content, Photography
Who is your favorite photographer/favorite photograph?
Favourite photographer – too many to mention but largely the photojournalists from the ‘golden age’ – Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, Kurt Hutton, Bert Hardy, Brassai, Martin Munkacsi, Robert Doisneau etc. If I had to pick one, then just for his life and times as well as his work it would be ‘Bob’ Capa.
Favourite Photograph is ‘Soldier Taking Holy Communion’ in Vietnam by Terry Fincher - lots of reasons why – largely because he was one of the greats and a smashing fella, so it has sentimental reasons given Terry passed away a while back now.
What are you passionate about outside of your work life?
Primarily music, (still in a band and about to launch a series of EPs on Itunes shortly)...singer, songwriter and guitarist. Photography is also a passion – shoot loads but mainly for my own pleasure! I’m a dab hand at DIY for some weird reason (necessity?!) ...and of course my family – wife of 28 years, daughter (24 and still at home), son (27 and married last year, so finally in his own place!).
I also have a great passion for animals – in another life I would have been a wildlife conservationist but have a distinct ‘thing’ about whales...have volunteered in a big cat sanctuary last year but just love the water so any chance to go whale watching, I am there.
What’s a favorite book of yours?
Favourite book – crikey – that’s a hard one...love literature and always have done, especially the Russian writers – Gogol is a favourite of mine. Pre war US writers are my main thing though – small town America – Sinclair Lewis (Main Street etc.) and the like but love anything that could be regarded as the great American novel - like John Dos Passos, USA, John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath, Kerouac’s Town and The Country etc.
Having said that, if I had to take one book on a desert island with me it would be something like The Cornish Trilogy by Robertson Davies – three books in one in fact, so three for the price of one – I won’t spoil the plot though – you just gotta read it!
Of more contemporary authors I love anything a bit weird/bizarre and ultimately depressing – And The Ass Saw the Angel by Nick Cave, Restraint of Beasts by Magnum Mills, Geek Love by Katherine Davies and so on...but I better stop there – could be here all night...!