The world of photojournalism has never really stood still. Even when it was film based the technology that allowed pictures to be transmitted & disseminated was always changing. I remember when I first started out in the late 1990s. Then, living in London was a huge advantage. Most of my work at the time was travel photography. Newspapers used to ring me up and ask me about a list of pictures or fax me over an article (yes, fax. Remember them?) to illustrate. If I had suitable pictures to send they’d get a motorcycle courier to collect them – and pay me a £25 search and service fee for submitting them whether they were used or not.
How the internet age has changed all that!
This bank holiday I’m working for Network Rail on the Stafford Area Improvement Programme (SAIP) again. Taking the pictures is only part of the job nowadays. What’s equally important and just as time consuming is getting them to the client asap, along with caption details. This can be either a description of the work being undertaken – or a bio (or even short interview) with a person being portrayed. All this is to feed the beast: Social media. Pictures are needed fast to tweet, add to Facebook or go on corporate newsboards.
Now, my hotel rooms are transformed into mini editing suites where the speed of the internet is as great a consideration as the comfort of the bed or how good the shower is!
What this also means is the job is getting longer & more time consuming, something that has to be factored in as a simple ‘shoot’ is simple no more. Defining how long the job will take now is like asking ‘how long’s a piece of string?’
I still love this job. The places I get to go to and the things I get to see still fascinate & amaze me – and I learn so much. Here’s what I was doing in the early hours of Saturday morning, whilst most of you were tucked up in bed.
An SRS Palfinger crane prepares to lift signal droppers onto the new gantry at the South end of platform 2 at Stafford