A burgeoning business co-founded by a De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) graduate has come up with a bit of a scoop just two months after launch day - by earning the rights to sell the work of some of the UK's best ever photojournalists.
Fine Art graduate Bret Painter-Spanyol is the co-founder of Fleet Street’s Finest, a photo agency with a difference which offers a platform for photojournalists to share their best shots with the general public.
Bret announced today that Fleet Street’s Finest has now secured the rights to sell photographs from the archives of The Guardian and The Observer, two publications respected for the quality of their photojournalism.
The Rolling Stones with Jean-Luc Godard 1968 by David Newell-Smith
It means admirers of the work of people such as Jane Bown - regarded as the greatest photographer of her generation - Denis Thorpe and David Newell-Smith can order framed art prints of their favourite photos to hang on their wall, from an archive of around 200,000 pictures.
The definitive photo of Samuel Beckett by Jane Bown
Bret, who launched his business with co-founder Alan Sparrow, said: “After our initial push and subsequent launch in June, and some blood, sweat and tears to get this deal over the line, I am over the moon about this partnership with The Guardian. This deal means we have access to the best images from some of the greatest photojournalists the UK has ever seen It is our absolute pleasure to give the public access to this archive. I think the images speak for themselves.”
Cocklefishing in Norfolk by Denis Thorpe
Examples of stunning portraiture of world famous names such as the playwright Samuel Beckett, painter David Hockney, actor Sir Anthony Hopkins and DMU Companion Bridget Riley sit alongside ‘in the right place at the right time’ moments - so typical of photojournalists – such as nuns skipping in a yard or a fisherman gathering cockles at dawn.
Alan, who is also chairman of the UK Picture Editor Guild, said: “I have always been and continue to be a fan of press photographers and their work. Their work is so often the main focus on a newspaper page and yet so often unattributed.
“We believe that the work of the press photographer has for too long been undervalued and here is a chance to be acknowledged for fine photography.”
Sir Antony Hopkins by Graham Turner
Existing photo agencies focus on sales to the news industry, but Fleet Street’s Finest has an eye on the home market, with prints framed and delivered, rather than sent to picture desks.
Bret, from Hertfordshire, came to DMU in 1995, to study Fine Art.
David Hockney by Jane Bown
“Being around like-minded people, all wanting to learn about the same thing, was brilliant.”
“It was a modular course, and in the third year we learned about art as business. Without that kind of practical foundation you are lost as an artist.”
Skipping Nuns by Graham Turner
After leaving DMU in 2001, Bret forged a career in journalism, and worked as a graphic artist on the Independent and a graphics editor on the Daily Mail, and the daily freesheet Metro - which is where he first met picture editor Alan. Between them, they have notched up more than half a century in journalism.
Future plans for the firm include offering newspaper cartoons, graphics and gift ideas.
Op Art pioneer and DMU Companion Bridget Riley by Mike Newell-Smith
When speaking to DMU in June this year during the launch of his business, Bret said he believed photojournalism was an art form that didn’t always get the recognition it deserves.
“Outside of the industry, photojournalists might be relatively unknown,” he said at the time.
“But they have to hit that same standard of quality that a studio photographer requires, but they also need to be in the right place at the right time, and they need to recognise what’s newsworthy. It’s a crucial job for society.”
Posted on Wednesday 23rd August 2017