Editors Note:


EDITOR'S NOTE: Fresh off a three year managerial stint, your friendly neighborhood lenslinger is back on the street and under heavy deadline. As the numbing effects of his self-imposed containment wear off, vexing reflections and pithy epistles are sure to follow...

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Rolling to the End

Much love to Amanda Emily for turning me on to the life of this legendary lenslinger.

Neil Davis did what every news shooter at one time or another thought about: filmed his own death. But this Australian combat photographer had no deathwish. He did, however, feel most alive when documenting peril. The only cameraman to film North Vietnamese tanks as they crashed through the gates of the Presidential palace in Saigon, Davis had a well-earned reputation as a man who would hunker down and roll when others would up and run. This fearless verve kept hin in good standing with his NBC suits. They readily bought his footage as he covered combat on three different continents. But Davis was more than a mere photog; he was a Journalist with a capitol J, a poetic soul who every day wrote the following in his diary:

“One crowded hour of glorious life is worth an age without a name“

In 1985 that glorious life came to a violent end when Davis was killed by tank fire during a Thai coup attempt. He was less than fifty meters from the tank that killed him, and rolling to the end. And we stateside shooters complain when our batteries turn up missing...

6 comments:

Horonto said...

I remember this happening a few years after I began carrying around Sony M3 & VO 2800. Made shooting internationally seem less appealing.

Amanda Emily said...

His final shot is on YouTube.

I couldn't watch it.

liveapartmentfire.com said...

If you read books about TV news, try this one: "The Cat from Hue," by John Lawrence. Lawrence was a CBS guy who did several tours through Vietnam. While Safer and Rather did the star turns through 'nam, Lawrence and his crews did the bulk of the heavy lifting. The book is riveting.

Miami Fan said...

Great post...again sir!

Anonymous said...

David was killed along with sound man Bill Latch.
The producer in the Bangkok bureau at the time moved back to the USA, married an NBC cameraman and they now live happily ever after--on the Thai coast.

Anonymous said...

They called James Brown the "Hardest Working Man In Show Business" ( Rest His Soul)..How 'bout acknowledging the "Hardest Working Folks In The Newsroom" and least recognized, the men & women on TV Assignment Desks...Without their skills, brains and tenacity, the whole thing might never hit the air!! God Bless them all!!