DRIVING INTO BBC Birmingham’s studios to photograph some of the station’s presenters I tune the radio into WM to get up to speed with the local news and views. Joanne Malin is talking to a woman from Bromsgrove who has written a book about curries and, as their aromatic conversation oozes from the speakers, I do optimistically wonder if any spicy snacks will be on offer when I arrive.
Their mouthwatering chitchat takes my mind away from the fact that I’m driving towards a fairly unappetising amount of work. Not the photography itself, more the lugging of gear from A (level 2 carpark) to B (the reserved room on level 9 of BBC Birmingham).
An hour of hefty logistics gets me to a tea break, before the photography begins. Having learned that Joanne Malin’s guest didn’t actually cook anything in the studio, I also snaffle an uninspiring cheese sandwich to get me through lunch.
The well groomed WM presenters start filing into the room to be photographed. I chitchat, a la Joanne Malin, about cameras, current affairs and curries, as much to help me relax as those on the other side of the camera. But at least I learn a bit more about them: how they got into radio, their tastes and style of presenting, what they get up to when they’re not wafting across the airwaves…
When they’re all done I go into reverse gear and zigzag the equipment through the Mailbox’s swanky shoppers, back to the carpark, in three hefty trips, and flick the radio on in the car for the journey home.
The presenter chats to callers, asking about their plans for the weekend, what lies behind their choice of music and, as the callers finish saying their on-air hellos to friends, they’re faded out as their chosen track is faded in. It’s seamless.
And then I wonder whether the mellifluous DJ had to carry three loads of records up to the studios from the boot of his car, before commencing his show because, as I know only too well from personal experience, there’s usually quite a lot of work involved in making a job appear effortless.
(BBC WM’s webpages have more examples from the photoshoot where this image of Tammy Gooding was captured.)