For a loner with a lens, I do so dig a camera cluster. From the snaking cables underfoot, to the preening, leaning broadcast masts high above - there’s something about a media circus that makes me feel oddly at home. I blame the midway. For where else can you see the Incredibly Sweaty Gadget Freak, the Aging Anchor with Purple Hair, or the Lifer with No Name? You won’t find these characters at your local shopping mall. Unless it burns down, is invaded by zombies or visited by a sitting Pope. Then, these electronic vets will show up en masse, erect their tents and trucks just outside the calamity in question and crank up the sideshow before His Holiness ever hits the Food Court. It’s an competitive, funny, scathing world behind that wall of lenses - and all you need to enter is a pissy attitude and a press pass or two.
Now that you're in, say hello to some of my buddies. The one on the left - the one who looks like he's about to go fly-fishing - is young Joe McCloskey. A fine photog in his own right, Joe acts as Sat Truck Captain whenever Satellite Dan is absent, sleeping or off on a Hamsicle bender. If that last one made no sense to you, you've never raided the rapidly thawing freezer of a hurricane-lashed island's only open gas station. Joe has - and he's got the soggy receipts to prove it. As for his friend there, that's none other than Colonel Ken Corn, ex photog-blogger, Mission Specialist and all around nice guy. When he ain't knocking back bottle water he swiped from a group of passing orphans, the Colonel can be found cruising the Queen City for news nuggets, trawling the deep end of the blogosphere or just being way too kind to your somewhat humble lenslinger.
Of course you know Whitey. He's the one with the sunny outlook, the upscale neckwear and the cell phone that launches unmanned spacecraft. Eric White (E-Whizzle to his many hip-hop followers) and I have worked together semi-regularly over the years. We've chased seeing eye ponies, endured marathon school board meetings and taken in a fatality or three. Through it all, Whitey's maintained his great attitude - no easy feat when your photog partner is constantly threatening to drive headfirst into the nearest bridge abutment. But enough about me - let's meet The Big Guy! That's him in the hat. His name's Jameson Forst and chances are he's got more kids than you. He's also got mad camera skills, an affinity for wide-angle lenses and as of yet no trace of a southern accent. Though new to El Ocho, Jameson's not new to the gig - something he proved about twenty minutes after he arrived here. Eager to no longer be the new guy, he even feigns interest when I mention this very blog. That'll change...
Dear Lord, you've given me so much. A career, a family, a writing compulsion ... could you not have made me a little more photogenic? You know, a little thicker hair on top, strapping muscles and not quite so red a complexion when trapped outside. C'mon - I dress like Magnum P.I. Couldn't just maybe I have looked a bit like Tom Selleck? That way all these pictures I post of myself could be one steamy collage in unbridled beefcake instead of some visual testament to my inherent dorkitude. Would that have been too much to ask? Hmm? Iraq? Global Warming? The Sopranos Finale? Yeah - I guess you are pretty busy. Tell you what, forget the whole handsome rap and remember this: Billy Graham may have saved thousands of souls but I sweated like an escaped convict at a license checkpoint the day they dedicated his new library. If that won't win me any celestial favors, how 'bout my ongoing attempts to explain my surly breed to the eight a half loyal readers of Viewfinder BLUES? Hmm? No? Okay.
I'll be in the sat truck if you need me.