Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Hazardous Mal

Mal James, Bad Ass

From Baghdad to Cairo to the Gaza Strip, Mal James has made a career of ‘acquiring under fire’. But that's the life of this international cameraman of mystery - one who dodges RPG's the way I duck late-day live shots. But the bloodshed that flows through his lens can't help but stain his psyche at times. That’s why he blogs, I bet: to hash out the particulars of a gig even he can’t believe at times. Four days ago Mal popped up in Gori, Georgia, picking his way through hostile territory with FOX News’ Steve Harrigan as the Russian Army rolled into town. That he even has time to log in and write is hard to fathom; that he can do so with such clarity is more amazing still. Sometimes though, there's no time to jot down your feelings, there is only time to run. Allow Mal James to demonstrate, courtesy of what he calls 'a crazed Ossestian'...

"A middle aged man with a pistol was screaming as he wrestled with a cameraman trying to get his camera. The pistol was swinging wildly and he was between us and our car. More shots sounded, a gun swinging around in the air... You do not stop or try to establish eye contact, you simply run, as fast as you can in a flak jacket. Each step seems to get slower. The distance to safety seems to become an eternity..."

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