As the unofficial bloviater of the Photog Nation, I'm always looking for a narrative to spare. Luckily, I keep in close contact with a troupe of news shooters who supply me constant fodder. Sure, they may portray themselves as hardened road-weary souls, but they're actually sensitive artist-types, if artists are allowed to tape police scanner codes to the insides of their windshields. You may not think you can tool around town in a logo-slathered SUV and still have an increased aesthetic, but I'm here to tell you, you can. Just ask my buddy T-Bone over there, the lumberjack looking fellow wrapping magenta colored gels around his lights. That man could field strip an aging VCR deck while driving a Jeep Wrangler down a badly-rutted pig path and still get excited about the way the sun filters through the rising dust-cloud behind him. Is it any wonder we're all so conflicted?
No, it isn't. But you don't have to ride shotgun with any of us to understand our collective angst. All you have to do is visit our workspaces. For some stations, that means a photog's lounge, some generously donated hovel where the shooters cool their heels between assignments. There you'll find all manners of detritus: soda cans, old tapes, the occasional voodoo doll...Whatever you run across back there, know they are glimpses into the photog soul; talismans from the brink, if you will. (except for that old Cheezy Poofs bag; that's just trash). Anyway, I'd be glad to lead you on a guided tour of my particular shooter's parlor, if not for one detail: We ain't got one.
Instead, we have a hallway, a shallow corridor flanking our edit bays where grown men gather to play grab-ass. It's one distinguishing feature: a dry-erase board which acts as a portal to the photog psyche. It ain't pretty. Take the recent parable that's formed on its grimy surface. It's either a cautionary tale on the dangers of getting too close to the action, or someone's trying to explain last night's episode of CSI:Miami. Either way, I'm keeping a closer eye on my colleagues this week and silently scanning photog knuckles for tell-tale dry-erase ink. Just don't think we're a callous bunch, 'cause we're far more feeling than our overstuffed utility vests might lesad you to believe. Yes, if there's anything to be gleaned from these latest hieroglyphics, it is this: Life is messy; stay behind the tape. That, or watch what you eat when you're enroute to a drive-by. Either way, I'm dusting the dry-erase board for any latent fingerprints...
Okay, cue Roger Daltrey.