Jim Colburn:
Don't Ask

"What About OUR Needs?"

As this is being written there's been an election but no winner. This is a good thing. Good for all those photographers in Washington, Austin and various places in Florida. The longer the debate goes on over hanging chads and butterfly ballots the more overtime gets worked and the more day rates get assigned. It isn't going to be as good as "The Year Of Monica" but to every photographer starting to complain about the long days staking out the Vice Presidents residence or the courthouse in Tallahassee I say Stop Yer Whining And Thank Who-Or Whatever-You-Worship For The Work because when things settle down you'll be wishing you were back in Austin dreading another mindless wave from George W.

George W? AL? I've got a bone to pick with you both. My employer sent me to Nashville for election night. I got into town on the previous Saturday, checked into a hotel and started dealing with the lab we'd booked (Chromatics in Nashville. great work, great people, highly recommended) to make sure that film would be developed, computers arranged, lines dropped, scanners working and so and so on. On Sunday one of our photographers arrived with three, count 'em three assistants and a plane load of lighting equipment because he was going to set up strobes all over the plaza for a cover photo of superb quality. Days were spent climbing rigs and hanging off of roofs. Tests were shot, developed, transmitted. Everything was working well and Tuesday looked like it was going to be easy. Hectic perhaps, but easy. And we weren't alone. My mag had a similar set-up in Austin. The wires had set up wireless networks (isn't THAT strange) and satellite dishes to get pictures out quickly. Digital cameras were all around.

Then came the waiting. And more waiting. At first it was a decent evening (in Nashville anyway) but as the sky grew darker the clouds began to roll in. Then the rain started. And the photographers got soaked..... For hours..... But they endured it all because at the end of the night they'd get a picture that might be a cover, or a front page, or a double truck inside. That's the sort of thing that would make it all worth while.

Worth while? Ha! After 8 hours of waiting the photographers in Nashville got some beautiful pictures of....William Daley. In Austin, where the weather was worse, the shooters got some campaign guy saying "We're really sorry but there's no winner yet."

What about OUR needs? Couldn't the principles have had the decency to come out, face the cameras and say IN PERSON that the election wasn't over? How about inviting everyone back to the hotel for hot chocolate? Ship in a few doughnuts perhaps.

I'm angry at both of them for not "allowing" themselves to be photographed. There were no covers or front pages worthy of a portfolio. Nothing you could show to and in-law to justify your marriage to their precious-little-girl. Nada.

After there's a decision we are going to have to talk with these guys .....

DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed are barely my own much less my employer's so don't blame Time Magazine, Time Inc. or Time-Warner for anything written here. What with all the money we've spent on election coverage it'll be amazing if we have a Christmas party this year.

James Colburn (aka james.colburn@pressroom.com)

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