It has been impossible to escape from the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow.
Yet I’ve not really enjoyed them.
Whether they have a lasting effect or not remains to be seen.
It was great to see Glasgow’s social conscience being ingrained through the whole event like a name written through a stick of rock.
From the charitable link up with UNICEF to properly respecting para sport competitors by including them as part of the main event.
I hear a lot of voices talking of pride in Glasgow and though I agree that the games have boosted a positive image of the city, as someone who lives here I felt something like this was a more true vision of the city and something that I take greater pride from.
(Glasgow is a community city. It’s a village with a daily flash mob. But things that bind those communities are being lost)
I saw nothing of the sport until the cycling in the last couple of days. But these games were more than just sport with a whole cultural fringe festival happening at the same time.
There were a few things that I observed at the festival events.
The main one being that the folk carrying cameras did not have passes and the folk with passes were carrying iPads.
I do not know if these were volunteers or if they were paid staff creating and distributing content.
The official feeds on the various social platforms didn’t look much different to the feeds from the audience.
With the exception of the video content that was made through the week.
There were a few guys running around with steady cam type devices and various video capable cameras.
Now sure, this is a change in the way that people create, consume and engage with content but it also presents a problem.
A problem with how work is commissioned and what kind of work is commissioned.
As event photographers how do we deal with this?
Is there an issue with cost or an issue with speed (which shouldn’t be, that’s what makes us professionals and we have this thing called technology!!) or has demand for this type of work disappeared?
And yet by the amount of people that I know who had no idea what was happening I think there were failures in getting the message across.
In my mind the online content put out by a company or organisation is advertising and it should reflect the brand and should stick 100% to the message.
This is the biggest joined up event Glasgow has ever held and yet my colleagues and I have played virtually no part.
It feels like a massive eff you!
I posted a photo of a 12 foot high fence with a crash barrier on the first day and cheekily commented that this was how the games felt for me and I stand by that now.
As the opportunity wasn’t there to make images for the games (being told maybe actually means “no”) and as I couldn’t do anything else for the duration because of general disruptions, closed roads & internet drop outs, I just used it as a chance to increase my skills and get some match sharpness at the things that I could go to.
In the grand scheme of things I’m not really bothered about losing out on one gig.
It is reckoned that the legacy of the games will bring £290 million to Glasgow over the next decade in terms of conferences and those shiny new venues aren’t going to just sit there empty in between.
My eyes are on that prize. I want a slice of that cake.
So far I’ve been fortunate enough to work at most of Glasgow’s five star events, from Celtic Connections to the Worlds.
These are world class events and that’s what I’m trying to build, a career as a world class events photographer.