Friday Fun: How A Picture Agency Worked, circa 1978
Photojournalist David Burnett has posted on Vimeo “Moving Stills,” a film Behnam Attar made about the workings of the Contact Press Images photo agency in 1978. It has inspired both nostalgia and giggles here at PDN. The film is long and sometimes stilted but it’s well worth watching for such vintage artifacts as a telex machine, slide film, lightboxes, five-week photo assignments, cigarette smoking in the workplace and men with very big hair. The video features Robert Pledge, Guy Cooper as well as Burnett who, in one scene, wears a nightshirt we’re pretty sure wasn’t in style in the Seventies, or any other decade for that matter.
The film reminds us that once an agency could have a photographer shooting a story on spec for weeks because when he brought home the film there were numerous magazine to pitch it to. But one thing hasn’t changed: Photographers still complain about how photo editors run their images.