Monday, October 01, 2007

One Crusty Shutterbug

Further proof the media landscape is quaking underfoot: Darrell Barton is shooting stills. Who's Darrell Barton? Only the crustiest TV news photog you'll ever meet, a legendary lenser wherever his many network assignments take him: from the Holy Lands to Afghanistan, from freelancing for 48 Hours to his annual gig in Norman, Oklahoma - where every March he can be seen reducing fully grown news shooters to quivering sobs with his unique blend of 'That sucks' and 'You're not good enough'. When I attended the NPPA workshop back in 2000, Barton didn't come near my reel, but it was an honor to buy him a drink anyway, knowing I was in the presence of the O.L. (Original Lenslinger)

Now however, Barton's taking his sniper's eye and excess street cred to that other realm of non-fiction image gathering: stills. Imagine Clint Eastwood's Dirty Harry character setting aside his .44 Magnum for a weeklong seminar in crossbow hunting and you have an idea of what the instructors at the Missouri Photo Workshop were up against. Reportedly though, all survived. In fact, much visual evidence has surfaced that suggests we TV dweebs and newspaper goobs aren't all that different from each other after all. That may be no News Flash to you civilain types, but in the fractured world of the Fourth Estate those who capture freeze frames have held those who roll tape in achingly low esteem (and versa-visa). Now of course all that's changing, and while you shouldn't hold out for any campfire singalongs anytime soon. the off-camera world did just get a litttle smaller. What's next, though? A local TV news photog who fancies himself a winning memoirist? Like that'll happen...


turdpolisher said...

Well, he may have missed your tape, but he got a face full of mine. He and Steve hooker were set up in the same room. I've known Hooker for years. He worked just one market over in the Big Easy. Knowing Hooker would critique my tape put me at ease immediately.

I didn't even see Barton in the room. Imagine my surprise when I felt a not so subtle tap on my shoulder and turned just in time to see Barton's craggy face and catch his raspy, "You Rick?"

He just laughed as the blood drained from my face. When I was able to form a complete thought, I grabbed a chair and held on for what I was sure was going to be a bumpy ride.

The critique wasn't too bad. He actually said I had chops as a shooter, but my editing wasn't all it was cracked up to be. (I had always thought exactly the opposite.) To this day, I'm thankful he spent so much time showing me how to get the most out of my video.

Now if I can just stop wetting myself everytime I hear his name. If you'll excuse me, Depends are half price at Walmart tonight.

Johnny D said...

As a long time Barton fan it is good news to see him still "doing it" as always.

He and I used to work across the street from each other. Make no mistake. There was no contest. Just good competition with me doing a lot of learning that pays off to this day on every assignment.

Barton was the first,for me, who pointed out the way to do this job is for yourself first. Don't wait for others to make you do better. You have to make yourself do better every day, on every assignment. Otherwise you get in a rut and lazy.

Barton does not get enough credit for what he has done to make our craft, and many of us, better.

Thanks for the update 'slinger.

As always, another reason your blog is a regular stop for me.