All England Lawn Tennis Club (Championships) Limited


Sarah Frandsen - Photo Library & Picture Coordinator

Sarah Frandsen joined the All England Lawn Tennis Club 8 years ago in the role of its first-ever Picture Library and Photo Coordinator for the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum.

The collection is around 1 million images, with more being added every year. In addition to the historic collection, in 2006 the Club started commissioning its own photographers to shoot the annual Championships and now has about 24 photographers shooting the event. Sarah describes the work she does co-ordinate and cataloguing these images, which can then go on to be widely distributed.

Although their online archive is only open to certain users, Sarah often responds to inquiries from the general public who request photos of their loved ones who served as ball boys and girls in years gone by.





Please Note: This is an automated, machine-generated transcription. We have presented this 'as is' and have not undertaken any editing.

hello and welcome to the max communications 2020 podcast a series of podcasts where we explore various archives and collections my name is faith williams and i'm joined today by Sarah Frandsen photo library and picture coordinator for the wimbledon lawn tennis museum Sarah would you like to introduce yourself or tell us about how you came to be in your role yes hi clay and it's nice to talk to you um so i've been at the wimbledon lawn tennis museum for eight years since 2012 and um i am the as you said the picture picture library and photo coordinator when i started this was a new role in the in the museum and they used to have a volunteer who worked with the photographs so um really when i came they were having starting to get more and more requests for photography and they really felt that they needed someone full time over the eight years the world has really expanded and um the collection now stands at just under a million images um the museum itself is part of the all england lawn tennis club and is based at in wimbledon at the home of the championships so it's a very special place to be um i'm very lucky to be able to work there um obviously this year it's been a bit strange without the championships um and we are currently the museum team are working from home um but the this is great because it's actually given me a chance to work on the photo archive um in detail which isn't always possible when you're in the office and lots of things are going on the photo archive is a big part of the museum we have uh the museum itself as a whole looks after objects um and the heritage of the championships and um tells the story right from the beginnings of lawn tennis um up to modern day and looks at all aspects um relating to wimbledon and the championships as well as some other events um and the game as a whole we also have a library and the kenneth richie wimbledon library which is largest collection of tennis related publications and periodicals in the world and the photo archive um has really grown at the same time um the library itself was started in 19 in the 1960s by a chap called alan little and he was a very keen um tennis enthusiast and historian and he ran tennis magazine and he had close links to the club and he suggested to them that they start a collection of books relating to tennis he collected alongside the books he also collected a lot of press prints photographic prints which he used in his research and also in his tennis the tennis magazine he produced so really he started the whole collection off and brought together um hundreds of prints over the years and um the collection really grew um from from there um since then obviously the collection the photo archive has been added to the museum has acquired glass plates lantern slides negatives through a mixture of either acquisition or also donation we do get donated a lot of material bringing it up to more modern day obviously when um with the advent of digital photography um the club um started to collect um digital imagery and also um it came to the point where they were using photography so much that they decided to commission their own photography that started in 2006 relatively late but they started then and it's that digital collection has grown exponentially since then um my role is to as well as look after the whole archive and to bring it together um i also carry out picture research requests for other um for anyone that wants to use the images and also have created an online image library which is available to certain user groups which i could talk about later um i also am responsible for putting up pictures and photographs around the site as well so it's not just looking after the archive itself it's actually going out into the grounds and when visitors come for the championships there's a lot of imagery that they see on display um and i help with that which is great do you deal with a sort of video audio visual or do you just do stills just do stills we do have um yes there is a there is a film archive which is looked after by img on behalf of the club and that holds a lot of um footage um filmed by the bbc um over the years so that is treated as a separate entity how far does your archive go back then because it's quite an old organization it is and so the club started in 1868 um and we tried to um collect as much early material as we can um we do the actual the oldest photograph that gets used the most is actually a fantastic photo of the original croquet members because obviously the all england lawn tennis club was actually started as a croquet club it was the lawn croco club um all england cronkite club sorry and um we have a fabulous photo of members of the original uh club sitting outside the original clubhouse in warple road so the actual walkway road is the original site of where the club is so it's it's in further closer to wimbledon central's town center um near the railway line um and it's uh it has a quite a distinct pavilion there which is still there today this grounds are now owned by wimbledon high school um but they've uh kept the pavilion um obviously it's been refurbished but it still keeps the same look as the original one um and they uh the yes so the kroger clubs are sitting outside the pavilion and all posing with their mallets um and trophies and things so that's a really fantastic image and it and it gets used quite a lot in our storytelling obviously and you mentioned that you deal with the images that people see when they visit wimbledon does that mean you're in in close contact with i don't know do you have a marketing department and things like that we do yes absolutely um during the championships itself uh the club commissions about now it's about 24 photographers to shoot the championships just for us just for ourselves um it's a great um uh group team run by um a well-known sports photographer called bob martin he's he's the club's photographic manager and he decides who's coming onto site to shoot and um and he's got a fantastic rotor of um great sports photographers they come on probably about now it's about four weeks before the championship starts so really for me the the championships is actually more of a six-week event rather than a two-week event that everyone sees on tv and um i am i am responsible for um creating lists a list of what each department in around the club would like to photograph so obviously um we have quite a large staff over 200 staff members year round and they cover everything from idt to construction on site to the club the actual tennis club there's there are members who play year-round and all of them are wanting photography for all their purposes whether it's marketing promotional for our official suppliers for our website before the championships i create a list i speak to all the departments around the grounds and and ask them what kind of photographs they need to use for all their purposes year round then i create that list which is actually a very long excel spreadsheet and i supply that to bob martin and his team and then i work with them throughout the two throughout the six week period to make sure that they photograph everything that we need um as well as that they are so my all my requests are non tennis related we also have a web team who are producing stories for the website continually throughout the championships fortnight and they dictate to bob and his team what matches they need to cover what his team need to cover so between the two of us they have a very tough schedule of things to cover so we grow the number of photographers each year so as i said it's currently 24. um but during that that time i work with them to make sure they're covering everything that we need year round and it's a great [Music] a great time obviously it's very busy but it means that one day i could be with a photographer shooting a bowl of strawberries on a grass court in the morning before everyone comes on site and then the next day i could be assisting a photographer who's taking a portrait of a committee member who's about to retire so it could be really anything and everything um and over the years i've got to meet lots of different people and as well as tennis players so obviously it's it's very enjoyable and because bob is such um a fantastic photographer um and the team that he handpicks is really um at the top of their game so to speak um it means that the photographic collection that we have since 2006 is really of the highest quality and it's really something that the commercial team and the web team have really started they use more and more the photography is really they feel what sets us apart from some of the other sporting events and because of the high quality of the photography so we're really lucky to be able to work with them and um and create that collection which can be used for future generations it's my role to organize all that material and over the over the championships period generally tends to be about 30 000 emojis that come in to cover that one period so each year that's a whole new set of images um i see i view it as a whole new set of toys to play with the rest of the year so um it's it's really fantastic and and i'm always amazed at the photographers how they can come up with new ways of shooting the ground that you know doesn't particularly change that much although we do do a lot of construction around the site so physically it will change from year to year um but essentially it is tennis um in a in a venue and they always come up with new ways to to show it and um the photography just gets better and better um they also have quite a challenge because obviously they are sports there are sports photographers there so they are um always challenging themselves to show the sport the actual action of tennis um as best as possible but also coupled with that we also on site have um have a strong sense that we our event the championships is is showing tennis in an english garden so they also have to show the flip side as well as the action they have to show the grounds and show the beauty of the flowers um we have a large team of gardeners who do a great job to make sure that the grounds all look beautiful um the spectator experience as well is is really important um we have 42 000 people on site at any one time apart from this year obviously um each day and uh and really it's their job to capture that to capture the ambience of that so that it can be placed on the website for um the millions of people that are watching um the event on television around the world so um it's it's a great uh the club has put a lot of effort to try and create a a really strong high quality photography collection and that that's really been achieved very well so i have to collect all those images um and as well as during the fortnight making sure that crossing off things as they get them as they shoot them i then also have to check the captioning in and add keywords to those images obviously i can't do a 30 000 within that two weeks um and i do have some help within the museum team um but we do the images from the photographers come in with captions applied already there is an editing small editing team within the photography team who write the captions for the photographers and we check that and then add they're just the very basic keywords such as location around the grounds which the editing team wouldn't necessarily know and then we upload them on to wimbledon images is is our online library it's an it's a non-commercial site um and not open currently open to the public but it's search fully searchable and we allow access to different groups such as um obviously alts all england and tennis club staff and any suppliers or contractors working with us the press have a gallery the travel trade have a gallery official suppliers and broadcasters also have access as well um it's my job to manage that collection and and to allow access to people um and also to answer research requests from from anyone else as well um the online library wounded images currently has um about 150 000 images on there but there's a lot of older material that we're still working through um to to get on the front end as well um we work with capture digital asset management who are a keywording and captioning um team they also host our website wilden images as well for us so um they do a fantastic job in keywording material as well um post championships uh when we've got more time they'll go through go off through the material and add a full set of proper keywords as well just to add to the ones that we've added um so we're very fortunate to have the resource to be able to do that apart from the usual suspects like um each press that you've mentioned your own teams um who else kind of accesses your collection of what kind of research requests are you getting we have a variety of queries it could be from the public i quite often get requests from family members who ask for if we have any images of um some of their family who may have been bull boys or ball girls um in the past and they are um perhaps having a birthday and they're wanting to to have a gift so that's a really nice nice request and those come in quite regularly actually we also have um academic requests as well via obviously the users of the library and people writing books tennis related books they might come to us for images as well um the official suppliers of the club they obviously have their own campaigns that they run alongside the championships and they do obviously require a lot of imagery um and it can it mainly those kinds of requests as i said we don't really run a commercial site at the moment um so if there are any requests that are not directly related to wimbledon um or who who perhaps are looking for just images of great images of tennis then we would direct them to one of the picture agencies um so it's it's we really are able to assist with people who are doing something directly with wimbledon or about wimbledon um wimbledon also creates uh produces their own a few publications as well so we have the official guide to wimbledon um and the wimbledon compendium which is produced every year as well which is full of facts um it's produced by um our commercial team and and robert mcnichol the librarian that's a book that's full of facts um what anything and everything to do with the championships and that's updated every year as well um so it's it's quite unusual requests and also internally because we have so many different departments they're always looking for different things to um support their work um the construction department our estates development team um who are responsible for new building um and refurbishing what in buildings on site and they are often looking for older images of the site how it used to be so um that can be quite interesting um and really uh at the moment we're just about to start a five-year program of um trying to digitize the older material in the collection so these are the physical photographic objects that we have um glass plates negatives um slides print prints um and it's this there's quite a large number of those within the collection which we haven't um digitised as a matter of course yet but that's what we're hoping to focus on in the next five years so um we are i will be we've done just an audit of the material and now we're looking to um well we've come up with a plan to move forward and what types of objects to photograph in the next five years and also to re-house them as well so that everything has been rehoused um in full conservation quality um storage materials yet but as we work through them we'll do that so it'll be a fully um a fully rehoused collection by the end of that so that that's that'll be really good yeah your all your material is based on site at the it is yes it's yes so we're lucky to be able to have um museum stores on site and um we're able to rehouse that although we are as part of this five-year project we're hoping to move all the photographic imagery into its own um unique store um at the moment it's dotted around the place um and as within the museum stores so we're hoping to pull it all together um and re-house it together which is great um i should also mention that um we as well as our digital collection and the physical objects and we also have um a the club purchased in 2014 a a collection from a photographer michael cole and um this was this is a fantastic collection of nearly half a million images that michael has shot his tennis specialist and he photographed that um throughout his career and also his father before him arthur cole so really he we have images from him from going back to the 1950s right up to when he stopped in the 2010s so it's a really far-reaching collection covering all different formats and um it's something that we've worked through um obviously being half a million images that's a lot of images to work through so we've over the last five years we've concentrated on the wimbledon related material although he did cover all different tennis events worldwide and we've edited the best of that material and sent it to yourselves max communications who have done a great job in digitally capturing that material and providing us with final clean um color balanced high-res images which we've then been able to keyword caption and add to our system so um i think over the last five years it's it's about 32 000 images which we've worked through which has been fantastic so um the michael cole collection is obviously because we didn't start commissioning our own material until 2006 it's meant that over the last 50 years we there's very little material that we actually have that i'm own the copyright for so in by purchasing michael's great collection um it means that we've now got a really great set of images that tells our own history and also michael's father arthur built up a very he was also a tennis specialist and he built up a very close relationship with the club back in the day so he was when the club did want the odd photo of something special they would call on arthur so he has within his um him and michael's collection there are unique photos such as um ball boy group shots going back um we had they took the shot of the first uh ball girls which was only in uh 19 1977 um and also there's shots taken perhaps on the day after the championships with the singles champion holding the trophy outside on court with the chairman or things like that more relaxed and behind the scenes photos so um really we were great we were lucky to have the opportunity to be able to acquire that collection when it um when michael decided to retire so um it's really added to our ability to tell our history um and heritage you know in a much more in-depth way what would you say i mean you've got a lot of history you've got um famous people you've got famous sort of sporting moments and things like that what would you say your favorite item from the collection was that's a really tricky question because there's so much um i think and because we have such different aspects they have the digital collection and the physical collection um bob martin himself took a photo of andy murray when he won his second title um and andy is just at the net he's just dropped there just dropped the racket on the floor and he's just punched the air and fortunately he just turned directly towards bob who was sitting in the pits on the side of center court and it's just the emotion on his face is fantastic um so that's one photo from the recent collection that stands out um we also have uh an album by um in the museum collection uh an album of photographs by lottie put together by lottie dodd lottie dodd was a the youngest singles champion um who won her she won five singles titles um in her first one being in 1887 i think and um she collected a scrapbook she was a keen tennis player along with all different other sports but this this scrapbook has photos of her playing in different events different tennis tournaments and there's one photo of her standing at the side of you can see it's a grass court she's standing at the side watching a match along with about 20 other people in victorian dress just standing watching a match going on but it's it's just a beautiful image um i think we put it on our instagram feed a few months ago um that just shows really shows that the interest in the emerging game tennis because at that time it was you know still relatively new um and they're all huddled together and and you can see ladies holding tennis racquets um in their full victorian outfits which were inc i really don't know how they were able to run on court to be able to hit a ball back um because lottie was so young she was able to wear actually less less heavy dresses than um than women in general but um but still they all um we have an a um interactive in the museum which has weights which are the same weight of the average tennis outfit for a lady in a victorian lady and i can hardly lift it so i really don't know how they were able to run around but that's a fantastic image um as well and um it's the this five-year program that's coming up um uncovering everything that's in the museum collection there's lots there that i haven't even looked through yet so i'm really excited to be able to go through that material and see what we have in there and to make it more widely available thank you for talking to me today it's you clearly have such a rich archive of images i mean no wonder you needed an extra person such as yourself just in order to coordinate everything and you must be quite grateful almost to have a break from summer season this year it sounds very intense all hands on deck absolutely yeah i mean we don't know what's going to happen with sports events unfortunately they all had to be cancelled this year and you say the museum is still shot at the moment too it is yes i think we're hoping to um say when it'll be um reopening soon um but obviously we have to be aware of the current situation um it is a good time to be able to work on on jobs which we can do remotely which is a lot of background work um and catching up with lots of keywording where can tennis spinach go in the meantime other than obviously the museum you mentioned your instagram you put up images on there as i know anywhere else yes we have um the wimbledon museum instagram and twitter um feed so please do follow that the website as well um which is for the the championships and the club as a whole and they that's continued being updated with new information and um editorial on on different tennis events which are still happening obviously the french open is on at the moment um in paris so um so yes do follow follow that as well yeah and remember that whenever you see images in the newspaper and things like that that they've gone through sarah and it was specifically a specific shot that she had in mind thank you for talking to us sarah it's been a real pleasure thanks very much faith cheers