In a blog post for the Dallas Morning News, former AFP photographer Chris Wilkins provides a retro version of our regular "What's in your bag?" feature, offering a run-through of the sorts of back-breaking equipment used by wire service photographers in the pre-digital era. Setting aside the cameras themselves, AFP photographers back in 1986 were required to carry five large plastic cases containing darkroom equipment and chemicals. Most problematic were the analog transmitters used to relay images back to base — taking a minimum of 26 minutes to transmit a color photograph, they required a completely reliable phone line, a rare luxury in war zones or other remote regions. As Wilkins wryly points out, the Morning News's staff photographers today all carry iPhones, allowing them to upload pictures from "breaking news situations" in next to no time.
The pre-digital equipment used by wire service photographers
The pre-digital equipment used by wire service photographers/
Former AFP snapper Chris Wilkins provides a fascinating insight into the equipment used by pre-digital wire service photographers, including portable darkrooms and analog transmitters.