In 2008 Philippe Clement decided to take the plunge and become a full-time photographer. Prior to that he mixed being a semi-professional shooter with his full-time work as a rock-climbing instructor and co-owner of a climbing hall in Belgium. The timing of his decision came with challenges. The worldwide financial crisis hit that same year and the stock photography market was becoming more and more competitive.
Philippe soon changed course, and the Arterra Picture Library was born. He had realized he could offer a lot more worldwide content if he partnered with a few high-quality, specialist photographers. In addition to his own contributions to Arterra’s archive, Philippe edited all the images and added and enhanced the metadata (an art in itself) behind each photo. This ensured a consistency across the Arterra portfolio that photo editors and researchers certainly appreciate.
Arterra soon began to attract a following. Shortly after setting up the website www.arterra.be, Arterra’s tightly edited rights-managed collection earned the archive several partnerships with leading photo agencies and distributors. Even at the advanced stage in the stock photo industry, large agencies remain on the lookout for “boutique” libraries covering a wide variety of subjects.
Now, too old to continue in the rock-climbing scene, Philippe lives his second dream job, spending his time between cruising through Europe while shooting nature, and (especially in the cold, dark winter months) in front of the computer, editing images and providing licensing partners with new content for their picture buyers.
Philippe no longer flies overseas on photo shoots because those trips are no longer profitable. Instead, he roams along the Normandy coast, across the Scottish Highlands or in the Dolomite mountains in his little Renault Kangoo microcamper in which the photographer sleeps and cooks to cut travel costs. It has become a very special nomadic way of life and Philippe loves every minute of it, though it demands a great deal of discipline and constant innovation to keep up with an ever-changing market.
Arterra’s structure allows Philippe to enjoy complete freedom and his schedule depends on the weather and the seasons. Apart from his own work, Arterra’s archive includes, among others, the work of Sven-Erik Arndt, a specialist in European wildlife photography; professional globetrotter, writer, and worldwide travel images provider Marica van der Meer; and Johan De Meester, co-author of many books about nature and European heritage. Arterra’s work appears regularly in National Geographic, BBC Wildlife Magazine, Bird Watching Magazine and other magazines, books, calendars and major newspapers in mainly the UK and US.
For more information about Arterra’s archive, please visit them at www.arterra.be
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