Thursday, September 10, 2009

In Scruff We Trust(ed)

Ronnie Noble "Its funny how cameramen are such a scruffy set. They spend all their time at the biggest functions in the world, yet they manage to look like tramps. ... Its no use use wearing good clothes anyway – they don’t last five minutes. You clean your lenses with your tie, and lie down on the ground to take an angle shot; you tear your trousers as you climb through a fence. No, a cameraman is better off scruffy."

And so it was written in 1947, laying down a legacy of leisure-wear modeled by sloppy photogs the world over. That's right, cabana fans, we're here to talk about what you're wearing. Me, I got no problem with it. Then again, I got more Hawaiian shirts and cargo shirts hanging in my closet than every other Dad in the cul-de-sac combined. They more than make up for it with their fancy cars and holidays off, but do they know the rush of waltzing into a stuffy Republican fundraiser dressed like they're fresh off a fly-fishing trip? Have they ever rolled up on a train-wreck wearing actual hobo-clothes? Can they fathom what it's like to ask a world leader a question while rockin' darkened armpit circles and hiking boots? Highly. Unlikely.

If they did, they'd stop giving us photogs the stink-eye, for then they'd realize half the fun of being an assignment roadie is dressing like one. Until then, count on the gentler set to continue judging you at a dozen paces. Sure, they'll stop to kiss your glass when it's to their advantage but otherwise that rather gamey concert T will only ruffle their designer feathers. I ain't sayin' that it's right; only that it IS. Ever since the first horn-rimmed engineers erected the first empty tube, those of us tasked with filling it with pictures have focused far more on what we see than how we look. Our on-air cohorts know it's true. More than one reporter has raised a sculpted eyebrow over how their shooter chose to cover himself that day. We as a breed tend to shrug it off, but now a new animal is threatening to unravel our sartorial gnarl...

Caroline Blair in actionThe Mangler!Adrianne Flores, News 14

Vee-Jays. Multi-mediums. Ratpack Journalists. Whatever you call them, these crews of one are popping up everywhere and it's a safe bet they look better than you. Hell, I know one statuesque 'slinger who could find steady work modeling for one of those aircraft nose art calendars. Technically, that's a sexist statement - but what did you expect from a guy sporting a Cannonball Run press-on decal where most folk park a polo player...decorum? Perhaps, but I for one can't help but notice how the new breed of newsgatherer eschews the look of old and aims for something a bit more respectable. Chalk it up to those tiny cameras they sport - or the fact that so many of them double as their own on-camera talent. That's a tough gig and if you can pull it off in something other than lumberjack clothes, well - my non-ironic trucker hat's off to ya. Now if you don't mind I gotta gubernatorial debate to attend....

Anybody seen my serial killer pants?


turdpolisher said...

Have they ever rolled up on a train-wreck wearing actual hobo-clothes?

You slay me dude. And yes, I have.

bill said...

I remember back in the 80's talking with a cameraman from Philly's KYW TV3, Mike Boyer. the guy dressed to the 9's, three piece suits, on this day a bowler hat, and a walking stick. when asked why he told me if he came up that way on say a picket line, those union thugs would realize he probably wouldn't drop the camera to rumble with them. He dressed that way in self defense ( I guess).

At the time KYW had a newsroom set, at 5:30 and 6 the newsroom was filled with activity, but at 11? usually you saw one guy in the back with his feet up reading a newspaper, sometimes with a big white Panama hat... guess who? ;-)

Anonymous said...

It's a love / hate thing with me... I love to dress casual, but I hate seeing 'togs wearing ratty t-shirts and ragged jeans in a court room! I say, dres they way you are comfortable, but make sure you have a change os clothes i the car for when the story requires a little decorum.