In Bed with Jimmy Colton

By Jim Colton

Tuesday night, October 30th, 1984. The phone rings around midnight. Myra Kreiman, one of my colleagues in the photo department at Newsweek, was watching ABC’s Nightline which claimed at the very end of the segment, that Indira Gandhi may have been assassinated! She wanted to give me, the Acting Director of Photography, a “heads up.”

Over the next two hours, after confirming Gandhi’s death through a variety of sources, we “scramble the jets.”  I wake up all of the major photo agency heads in New York and tell them I want first right of refusal on any images related to the story. Next, I dispatch our contract photographer Peter Turnley on the first available flight from Paris to New Delhi. 

Two hours later, feeling confident that I have done all that I could do to insure we have the best possible coverage of this breaking news…I go to sleep. 

2:30 a.m. -- the phone rings, it's Tom Mathews, the senior editor for international news at the magazine. In his southern drawl he says, “Jim (pronounced as a three syllable word) Indira Gandhi has been assassinated!” I respond, “Again?”

That’s how we rolled back then.  In the pre-digital world, whoever moved the quickest reaped the rewards…especially when it came to meeting the weekly deadlines. Being the “first” to contact the image makers and photo agencies was critical… especially if you wanted to beat the competition, which in our case was TIME Magazine.

As Newsweek’s last print issue rolled off the presses at the end of 2012, I reflected on those “glory years” when picture display was paramount and the competition was fierce! Now, in 2013, TIME Magazine no longer has a direct competitor. Yet the magazine is still as relevant and vital as ever and its online footprint is becoming larger every day.

One of those footprints is LightBox,'s online home for great photography.  LightBox affords the magazine the ability to publish work on a real-time basis as well as supplement and compliment images also appearing in its weekly print edition.  The person who holds the baton for the visual orchestra at TIME Magazine is Director of Photography Kira Pollack, who would have been a formidable adversary back in my time. 

To find out how she manages all of TIME’s photographic coverage for the print version as well as their web site, I asked her about the many hats that a director of photography needs to wear.

Read the interview here: