Back in London, he took on the role of a dresser at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden, spending his days, as he tells it, "making sure the right costume got on the right person at the right time." He evidently succeeded, since Covent Garden history contains no instances of Madame Butterfly appearing onstage as the Barber of Seville on Paul's watch. Tiring of his operatic existence and still itching for a career in pictures (still ones), he joined a photo agency that supplied images to various clients, among them Time.
That's how we found Paul in 1994. My predecessor Chris Redman persuaded him to become one of the founding members of Time's newly decentralized European edition. Paul created the picture operations from scratch, recruiting a brilliant staff, including associate picture editor Maria Wood, and continuing the magazine's distinguished photojournalistic tradition with a distinctly European focus. "For me the challenge was to know my magazine," says Durrant. "And to make sure the photographers understood it as well." He more than met the challenge, organizing photographs and photographers from Jutland to Johannesburg, Moscow to Madrid. As he says: "I make sure the right picture gets on the right page at the right time."
Paul's work can be seen not only in the pages of the magazine, but also on its website, where the photo essays he organizes are consistently among the most-visited features. Check out the latest offering on Russia's homeless at www.timeeurope.com.
Now, after seven years the longest he has ever stayed in one job Paul feels it is time to hang up his picture editor's loupe and take some time off to plan his next career. His duties will be assumed by Maria Wood. With a mix of envy and considerable regret, we can only say we respect his decision and wish him the best. And, needless to say, we can't wait to see what he does next.