I kicked off 2007 like most of you probably did - huddling with parole officers as they slapped a GPS ankle bracelet on a convicted sex offender. Okay, so its no New Year’s Day tradition, but when its your job to fill the space between newscast commercials, you never know what you may point your fancy-cam at. Today it’s registered sex offenders, tomorrow it may very well be Mayor McCheese. Either way, I get paid the same - be my target of the day a lovable mascot or an object of justifiable scorn. That said, bring on the pervs!
Okay, so there was just one of them - a red-eyed twenty-something in baggy jeans and considerable bling. He couldn’t have been too happy to begin the new year with a visit to his parole officer. Seeing me and my camera sharing donuts with the guys in shoulder-holsters had to really suck. Luckily, his feelings didn’t matter one iota, and as he slunk into a small office bathed in ugly fluorescent light, he seemed to know it. Plopping down in a plastic chair, he barely cut me a glare as his parole officer informed him his fifteen minutes of fame was about to begin.
Actually, we were pretty easy on the slouching young cat with the thousand yard stare. Not once during the whole time I loomed over him with my heavily-logo’d lens did I ever point it at his face. His hands, elbows, ankle and neck I documented in great detail, but his face - never! Why not? We didn’t need to. Varner and I could just as easily tell the story of the new state law requiring select sex offenders to wear Global Positioning Satellite tracking devices withOUT subjecting this newly convicted felon to the taunts and derision of his fellow man. It’s all a part of the TV photog’s journalistic creed: frame everyone the same...let any judgments and all aspersions be cast by the lens.
That’s why I didn’t splay his face across the region. I’m there to video, not to vilify. Even if the sick little worm did deserve it.