Ctrl+Alt+Del is an exploration of the mass production, dissemination, and consumption of images of globally-reaching events. This conveyer belt of image production starts and ends with a human event, but is mediated by the camera lens. Today, this happens within the space of a few minutes; photographers capture the event, edit their stock, and send them directly to their agencies which distribute them.
This set of photographs shows what happens on the other side of the lens at the 2012 London Olympics. The display screens of the digital cameras used by officially accredited sports photographers contained a wealth of visual information; hundreds of images being processed, deleted, enlarged, or enhanced in one space. In Ctrl+Alt+Del, we see through a double lens; the image of the image of the events itself.
Technology has come a long way since the last Olympics in London in 1948, broadcast in black and white. According to Getty Images, the official Photographic Agency to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), their photographers took more than one million images at the London Games and uploaded more than 3,000 per day to the Getty Images website. It also installed 100 kilometers of fiber optic cables to connect all the venues to the Getty Images office in the event’s press center. The Reuters agency sent a total of 55 photographers, 17 picture editors, and 25 picture processors to London. It’s estimated that Reuters’ 17 editors looked over a 1.5 million photographs during the course of the Olympics. That’s 88,235 photos per editor.
“From the moment an athlete crosses a finishing line, a photograph will arrive at a newspaper as far away as Australia in about 180 seconds.” – Ken Mainardis, vice president of Sport Imagery and Services, Getty Images