Being a photographer means you are always on the go - your office is essentially wherever your work brings you. Our photographers use the tag #mygettyoffice on Instagram to show us where in the world they are.
I am frequently asked ‘Where are you based?’
And the answer always is, “wherever my laptop and cameras are.”
Things have certainly changed over the years. Previously, when shooting on film, photographers used bulky equipment to process and transfer scanned images over phone lines. Now, when deadlines dictate, images can be sent directly from the camera to the picture desk without the need to edit them on a laptop.
Modern photographic and computer equipment has become smaller and lighter. When I first started out, one vital piece of kit, a Hasselblad Dixel digital transmitter, cost thousands of pounds and weighed over 35 kilos. In those days film was processed in a lab or in a hotel bathroom. Images were transmitted through analogue phone lines and at around 21 minutes for a colour image, it was a slow process.
Nowadays, my ‘office’ travels with me on the road – cameras, card reader, media cards, laptop and batteries all fit into my rucksack.
The first laptops used by photographers were fairly bulky and had poor battery life. Modern lightweight PCs and Macs are much more efficient allowing the photographer to work from anywhere for longer without the need for mains power. The speed of transmission of images has also improved with the advent of 4G mobile data networks and portable MiFi devices for internet connectivity.
As a news photographer, mostly based in London, I am grateful that my office is now portable enough to be carried with me at all times. Covering news for Getty Images in a big city, where events can change rapidly requires the photographer to be flexible and mobile.
My ‘office’ location changes every day – as a photographer it is necessary to be in many different places, sometimes at short notice. Invariably I edit images on my laptop and transmit them to the picture desk from wherever I find myself…. be that a café, in my car or sometimes from the street outside a court building or Parliament.
In central London, photographers often gather in a friendly café near Parliament to edit their images and share information. We have become such regular customers that a recent refurbishment included installing power sockets at every table.
This particular image was taken during the floods in February. It’s always handy to have a flat dry surface to work from and this abandoned office desk came in handy.
Working in flood water requires the photographer to wear waders and carry a minimum amount of camera gear as there is a greater risk of falling over and getting a soaking. Normally I wear a pouch on a belt to carry lenses and spare batteries, but working in deep water makes this impossible. During the recent flooding in Berkshire and Surrey I even had to hang my rucksack up out of the deep floodwater on a post as I tried to reach houses cut off from dry land.
This picture was taken from a canoe and as it was close to newspaper edition time, I sent the image balancing my laptop on a wall above the flooded street. It made the front page of the next day’s Guardian.
Shooting and editing pictures in flood water is challenging, but I have become accustomed to working in unusual locations.
This image of St Paul’s Cathedral was shot from a helicopter and transmitted before landing.
I have yet to send pictures from a passenger jet in mid-flight, but even this is now becoming possible with some airlines offering internet access at 30,000 feet.