By Tim Wimborne
A couple of weeks back I was listening to a radio station when a school teacher rang in to share her story of being tasked back in the early 1980s with leading a new subject called Leisure Studies. The pretext for this cutting edge course was that imminent computer technology meant the 25 hour work week was inevitable and a bounty of recreation time assured. Of course we’re all experts in how this flash of history unfolded.
Not too long after this, about the time my career as a photographer began, this misjudgement was mirrored when society’s zeitgeist shamans and marketing gurus told us the great leap forward into digital photography and associated new technologies would revolutionize our working day. It did of course. Just not in the way most ‘experts’ foresaw. Instead of the time spent hunched over enlargers etc. the main result is a dramatic increase in productivity. Where once a pocket full of batteries was all that was needed to power all equipment I might carry on even an extended assignment I now take with me a small shop’s worth of cables and adapters, chargers, hard drives and power supplies, audio and video devices and of course an ever larger range of batteries.
Of course Reuters’ photographers no longer lug mobile darkrooms around the globe, converting hotel bathrooms into dark, stinking laboratories. But they do produce a range and quality of images never before possible. Clients receive pictures moments after they are shot, photographers are now in contact with colleagues, editors and clients at all times of the working day.
You need to keep your head above the ever rising tide of technology pouring into the industry to survive but to really prosper means more than treading water. It means reinventing how you work repeatedly and rapidly.
Traveling on assignment has never been less simple.