Joe Marshall traveled for six years as a writer for SI, but not until he became director of photography five months ago did he find out what it really means to hit the road. Marshall's new job has taken him to San Diego for the Super Bowl and to Calgary for the Winter Olympics. Last month he was in Tokyo for the Mike Tyson-Tony Tubbs fight. He then spent three days in Seoul in preparation for SI's coverage of the Summer Games. Next week he's off to Leningrad for an exhibition that will include SI photos.
As comfortable as Marshall, 41, is in the fast lane (jet lag doesn't seem to bother him), he's more at home in Princeton, N.J., with his wife, Barbara, and four children: Seton, 8; Rebecca, 7: Ashley, 6; and Allison, 3. But he isn't complaining about spending only 18 days between the Super Bowl and May 1 in his new office in New York. "There is a romance to the photos in the magazine," says Marshall. "I was put in the middle of something very exciting."
This is an especially busy year for the magazine's 20-member photography department—two Olympic Games, the Winter Olympics preview issue in January, an upcoming Summer Olympics preview. In addition, the department is already preparing for the year-end Pictures '88 issue. Says Marshall, "It's a big year for us, any way you look at it."
When Marshall talks about a big year, he means bigger than average. Average is shooting 25,000 photos per week. Above average is the 5,400 photos taken at the Final Four in Kansas City or the 250,000 shot in Calgary (one courier had to buy an extra seat on the plane just for film). Way above average will be the half million pictures ST will take in Seoul in September.
April 10, 1988
Among his other duties, Marshall assigns photographers to events. That part of his job was made easier after he supervised the installation of a computer system that helps him keep track of assignments and billing. Marshall also makes sure that the film is processed, edited and ready to be viewed by SI's editors as soon as possible after an event has ended.
The glamorous parts of the job include flying on Learjets and helicopters to rush film to New York to meet deadlines. But the mundane parts—like commissioning members of the Calgary fire department to act as drivers for SI's photographers, writers and editors—are just as important. "The range of things you have to think of is tremendous," says Marshall. "You can transmit photos via satellite, but because staplers are horrendously expensive in Seoul, we'll be bringing our own to the Summer Games."