Journalism and media students who want to watch newspaper photographers at work are advised to visit the Age car park located in an old warehouse in Lonsdale Street Melbourne, opposite the delightful “Men’s Gallery”.

There you will find them: award winning photojournalists, all rugged up in scarves and beanies in the cold, dusty gloom; hunched over laptops in camping chairs and using open car boots for desks as they process their photographs for the coming edition.

It is not uncommon to find at least two of them there at any time night or day, and in spite of impossible workloads and deadlines, they always seem to have time for a bit of philosophy and banter with a passing stranger; that’s how photographers are.

A curious recent visitor to the car park was told by one of these shivering car boot workers that there is no working space for them in the Age office except for a table that must be shared by six people, “… and anyway, it’s better down here because there’s too much bullsh-t going on up there”. The fascinated visitor was also told that the photographers were being prepared for the Age‘s new, wizz-bang, smaller premises where space will be at a premium.

Antique Age journos remember the good old days when there was so much space at the Spencer Street office that workers could have perfectly satisfying s-x under their desks or in the various quiet nooks provided by the company.

Those were the days of a more caring and thoughtful managerial culture that understood what it takes to produce a great newspaper. Even very close to deadline there always seemed to be time and space to have good s-x and a reflective cigarette or a beer afterwards. Gone, all gone.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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