Saturday, November 20, 2004

I, Photog

My wife sometimes accuses me of ‘living inside my own head’, and perhaps she’s got a point. After all, when you spend your life wrenching images from a TV news camera, it’s easy to become a tad detached. Squander enough time peering through that glass and you’re sure to get tunnel vision. After a while, it all those black and white images look the same.

There may indeed be a millions stories in the naked city, but they could all be divided into a mere dozen categories. So instead of dwelling on the slow parade of pedestrian news events, we photogs concentrate instead on the art of the grab, working filmmaker flourishes into our commando-cam format. The revolving cast of victims, villains and grandstanders is often secondary.

Personally, I often wear my camera like a shield, brandishing it for battle but mostly just hiding behind it. It’s the facet of electronic news gathering I enjoy the most - the spectrum of broadcasting that has nothing to do with overstuffed anchors, delusional producers and smarmy consultants. TV news photography practiced at street level, where the almighty deadline rules the day. In the daily hunt, little else matters.

Except lunch, of course. Lunch is VERY important.


Billy Jones said...

Just seconds before reading this post a skinny blond chic stormed out of my house for the very same thing your wife complains about. It seems that even when I'm with her I'm not with her... Oh well, I warned her I was like that when we first met... it's the artist in us always working on the next project or trying to make the last one better, yes, it's a complusion but that's how we are and it can't be changed.

I'll get over the skinny blonde chic leaving and hope your wife gets over it without leaving.

Anonymous said...


You are most correct...lunch is very important!

I really enjoy reading your blog. Believe me, cubicle land is not nearly as exciting or thought provoking. Joke emails, practical jokes, the Far Side daily calendar (not Dibert, as you eluded to in an earlier post), and an occasional lunch & after work fling with married co-workers is about all the excitment it offers.

You are a very talented writer and I really enjoy reading about your not so ordinary daily life -- keep the posts coming!

-From an old friend in which you have much in common!

D-man said...

I, Production grunt

Hiding behind my own devices as do you. While not entirely the same, my glowing box in my darkened room helps me pull those images from my detached noggin and show them to my wife who then and only then can possibly understand what rattles around in there. I've been blessed by seeing both perspectives that sheild of yours provides.

chellsrs said...

Lenslinger! Speaking of the run of the mill shootings, murders, domestics, fires...I, too find that they all just run together after a while. Many people say I'm cynical. I say it's just the business we're in. All day I find myself sorting through deadly shooting after deadly shooting - choosing which ones should air and which shouldn't. Sadly, the ones that air are the ones that have the crying sibling or emotional parent of the victim. It just doesn't matter if the victim was selling crack on the corner or a good samaritan trying to break up a fight. Too often, the circumstances surrounding the story are overlooked. The sound sells, and it's all about the sale. Sad, yes.
There are occassions - however rare - when I find this great story and am able to air it. The girl who can only eat from the feeding tube, the woman with breast cancer who made a video documentary of her ordeal only to make sure other women know their chances of developing the same deadly disease, the teenager, paralyzed by a single bullet who says he's "forgiven his attackers and wants to one day have a career hoping troubled teens". They're the stories that make my job tolerable. The girl with the feeding tube is just 14 years old and her family doesn't have enough money to get her the best of the best medical care. I hope running the story will help get that family the money needed to save her life. The story surrounding the woman with breast cancer will hopefully get women to go to their doctors an have a simple test performed - to see if they have the breast cancer gene. I know I'm going to have the test. And the teenager who's forgiven his attackers - who can't even feed himself or scratch his own eye - how awesome to have a heart that big. I don't want to do this forever. It's too wearing on the soul. But I hope while I am doing it, I can run enough of these good stories to make up for the crap I run every day.

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