It doesn't take a lot of fancy book learnin' to note the similarities between the camel and the lowly photog. The sand-scoured hide, the lumpy silhouette, that whole thing with the spitting... Okay, so that's just me, but the fact of the matter is we camera-humps gotta stick together, After all, a great culling of the herd is upon us; if we're to survive at all we have to do more than carry harems across imaginary deadlines in the sand. We must (gulp!) evolve. Now, this isn't gonna be one of those breathless screeds in which I compare the post-modern photojournalist to crippled antelope or crushed flowers... Those were fun to write the first twenty times but by now everyone knows a reconjiguring of the Fourth Estate is well underway, right? Right?
Depends on where you sling that lens, I guess. Out in L.A., where the Dashing Dave Malkoff snapped the above photo of his partner for the day Scott Moultin, natural selection still seems to be the order of the day. Sure there's a new breed of news gatherer lurking around the edges, but if you're going to chase gangbangers or even Michael Jackson's brain, you better pack on the taxonomy. But here in the Carolinas we're a bit more fluid with our DNA. Reporters packin' glass, Photogs firing off questions, producers learning to Tweet between trip to the break room and their rundowns. What's next? Cats and dogs going LIVE together?
Don't answer, as I'm not sure I want to know. What I would like to find out is when all this evolution reaches its natural conclusion. I'm guessing 'never', for just as soon as we master the demands of the 24/7 news cycle, Apple or somebody will unleash a new iLid Flip-cam and even multi-tasking stevedores like me will be out of a specialized gig. Will the viewer benefit? Hardly matters. When the elders of news film were supplanted by youngsters with video-cameras back in the early 80's, no one stopped to ask whether the public wanted to watch their train wrecks in smeary beta-tape. They just did it and before you know it folks across this fine nation were watching ribbon cuttings, traffic jams and bake sales LIVE as they happened.
Was it progress? Who can tell? All I know is someone better slap a logo on that camel before it's replaced by an ostrich with a handycam strapped to its ass...