When There's No Time for a Group Photo

Technology was supposed to make life easier. Turn on the faucet and boom. Water. Pop a frozen meal in the microwave and you've got dinner without the wait. Even the dreaded DMV visit has been reduced to minutes thanks to the internet. There's almost nothing that can't be done quickly as long as you have the right technology. Yet still, we lead busy lives. 

Ironically, we've taken this (relatively) new concept of free time and used it to create more work for ourselves. The invention of the assembly line didn't result in workers going home early, but in higher, more efficient production rates for Ford. We use our spare time to schedule more meetings, get more organized, do more. And this isn't necessarily a bad thing. People need to work, to be productive, in order to feel meaningful. It's natural to want to fill our time this way.

Recently, I was tasked with taking a group shot of several local politicians for Women's History Month for Rapid Growth Media. Correct me if I'm wrong, but this would be the first ever professional group shot celebrating women politicians in Grand Rapids. It felt a momentous occasion, and I was excited for the project.

But gathering the women together, even for just one photo, was quite a challenge. A little too much so. After several failed Doodles, I decided to forgo the traditional group shot and use Photoshop magic to place all these women in the same place at the same time. The subjects filtered in throughout the day, and I photographed them as they had time. It took very specific posturing and placement in order to make the final photo look natural. I used layers to create a composite image and, withholding this blog, no one would ever know the difference.

Technology is a complicated beast. In freeing up our time, it actually gives us more work. Sometimes it doesn't actually make anything easier. But sometimes it does.