The perfect way to remember the week, meeting people and making new friends amongst colleagues you had only ever seen copied on emails, heard on conference calls, knew only of by reputation. The photographic answer is to get everyone together and get that photographer to take that special moment, The Group Shot. Except gathering everyone together in one place at one time takes some doing, managing to get everyone looking the right way, all paying attention, without being distracted by their phones or the thought of lunch. Above all not having the person in front blocking that person behind, so that you can see all the bright shining engaged passionate faces, everyone, nobody obscured. Quite a challenge.
But imagine a big conference, the whole of the leadership team for say, Western Europe, all gathered in one place for the first time for a long time. You’d want everyone, and obviously, the answer to this photographic nightmare is height. The photographer needs to get up high, use a ladder, or find a balcony overlooking the room, hall, auditorium. However at this conference, held in a vast and featureless hall at the NEC in Birmingham, there are no balconies, and an extendable platform or cherry picker is certainly available but would cost more to hire than the entire photography budget for the week. And the guy to operate it would need more than his lunch money. And the photographer needs a ‘high working’ certificate or was that a ‘hot working’ certificate. Perhaps both.
Enter the drone. With its high-pitched constant whine, it certainly attracts attention, if only because the delegates want to see whether they guy flying it is going to drop the whirling angry thing on their heads. We form up a group in the theme for the week, which happens to be a heart. And everyone wears a logoed T-shirt and in a bright red very appropriate heart colour. I can’t show the resulting picture here as I don’t have permission to share, but it made a lovely souvenir of a very busy week out of the usual routine for more than 400 colleagues spread all over Western Europe to remember when they all got together in a vast hall in the complex of vast halls that is the Birmingham NEC.