Dawn Airey: Our friend in the Big Apple

Dawn Airey: Our friend in the Big Apple

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Celebrity soaps, ice hockey, Bruce Springsteen and Donald Trump. Dawn Airey is embracing New York life

About six months ago, I made a leap. I moved from west London to a place where the streets are covered with blood. Where’s that? NYC’s famed Meatpacking D­istrict, although the description is not too dissimilar to a moment in time at Channel 5.

While my career has moved from broadcast to still imagery, I remain a super-fan of Coronation Street. But I do have a new soap addiction – Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Sunday night on E! is a double dose of the Dashes/I am Cait and The Royals; two very current, modern-day soap operas that are a sign of our times, where you are famous for only being famous.

Despite the on-screen promotional backing between Verizon and Time Warner Cable, TWC is my carrier of choice. Its on-demand services are rich, intuitive and easy to use. I have been able to binge-watch Gotham – a beautifully produced and compelling back story to Batman.

But my prime source of entertainment has become the US presidential election. It has been fascinating to watch, although I haven’t worked out whether it’s a black comedy, drama or serious news.

I am constantly assured that I am witnessing the most sophisticated democracy in the world at work. It is just a pity that some of the presidential hopefuls are quite so offensive.

However, I hope I am going to be a resident of the US when the first Potus is a woman – that will be something to celebrate.

One of the joys of being CEO of Getty Images is that our staff photographers and thousands of contributors have access to all the world’s significant news events, sport and entertainment.

Any night, I have the pleasure of having a front-row seat. I have become a fan of ice hockey. I attended my first NY Islanders game, standing with award-winning sport photographer Bruce Bennett as he worked.

That night, instantly, he knew which pictures were best. “These are the key photos that capture the moment, the anxiety,” he said. Immediately, I under­stood what separates the pros in an age when everyone has a camera in their pocket.

I was able to see another legendary American, Bruce “The Boss” Springsteen, in concert with our rock-star entertainment photographer, Kevin Mazur. Kevin is magnetic. Everyone knows him – the celebrities, the managers, the crew – and everyone loves him.

Seeing him work highlighted the fact that our photographers are true creative geniuses. They have the access, timing, talent and spirit to get the best out of their subjects late into the night. And then do it again the following day.

For example, to cover an event such as the Oscars, it takes an entire team more than 1,000 man hours to produce more than 80,000 images (including 360° and video clips).

The level of creativity our experts bring to their work is stunning. It extends beyond our photographers, though. While hundreds of thousands of image-makers are out shooting, a team of visual trends experts are busy understanding the cultural factors that influence photography. They use their insights and our in-house data to predict what kind of images our customers will need next.

Which brings me back to Mr Trump. Even before he announced his candidacy, our trends team noticed a rise in the way “fringe” ideas were becoming more widely embraced by the mainstream. Our own data also illustrated this. Over a five-year span, among our top-selling images, they found the keyword “attitude” had risen 42%, “individuality” 76% and “creativity” a whopping 134%.

Will Trump win? That’s the billion-dollar question.

If he does, I don’t know what that will mean for my new home. But I do know we’ll be there, to capture the moments for the world to see.

Dawn Airey is CEO of Getty Images.

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