It’s Monday morning and I’m sitting on the 06:25 train from Bournemouth to Waterloo for the first of many such trips over the next three months. I have decided to put the ‘day job’ aside and I’ve accepted a contract working in the Main Press Centre at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
When I’ve told people, the mixture of reactions has been very amusing. Ranging from the most common “how exciting!” via a liberal sprinkling of “are you mad?” to the rather predictable “can you get me some tickets?” The answers are, in turn: “I hope so”, “ask me in September” and “NO!”
Like most press photographers, I greeted the news that London was going to host the 2012 Olympics with a mixture of anticipation, horror and fascination. What would it mean for non-sports specialists like me? Would it mean anything beyond endless building works and some even-heavier-than-normal traffic? Until March of this year my only contact with the Games was to photograph a group of children whose school is right next to the Stratford campus in the Spring of 2008. Beyond that, I was expecting to have next to nothing to do with the biggest event to come to the capital in many years.
So what exactly will I be doing for the next 13 weeks? My job title says “Team Leader, Photographers Workroom, Main Press Centre” which is a posh way of saying that I will be there setting up and helping to run the vast work area at the main Olympic site set aside for visiting sports and press photographers. Customer service with a smile and a lot of empathy for the needs and deadlines of the 1800 or so accredited photographers that will be passing through the Olympic and Paralympic Games between now and the middle of September.
I’m excited – albeit in a slightly sluggish way having had to get up at 05:15. I am apprehensive too: this is a new departure for me in a career in photography that started way back in the mid 1980s. I’m genuinely looking forward to the experience and I hope, where possible, to say a few words every now and then about how things are going. If you are working at London 2012 yourself – please come and say “hello”. I expect that you’ll recognize me – I’ll be the one wearing the uniform, spinning plates, juggling press-packs and looking as if they know what they are doing.
My train is approaching London Waterloo and I’ve got to stick the laptop back into the bag for now.