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...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Hustle and Glow

In the Cup You know what they say: It's hard to look ahead when there's a tiny TV screen stuck to half your face. Okay, so no one says that - but they would if TV news photographers ruled the world. Until then, I'm happy to spotlight their plight, for you'll not find a group of people more wary, verbose or wise than the good people standing under your favorite station's fancycam. Sure, we put the talking hair-do's on the billboard, but that's only because we wouldn't want to disrupt traffic with a giant A/V geek in a fishing vest straddling the interstate. Besides, it's not what a lenslinger looks like that's important, but what he (or she) looks at...

Me. I've looked at a lot over the past twenty years - very little of it by my own volition. Rather, I've been dispatched with great haste to scenes both calculated and haphazard. Mayoral meltdown, kindergarten cook-off, spontaneous pothole...I've rolled up on 'em all and been invited to stay - not because I'm so much damn fun to be around - but because I packed my looking glass. You know, the one glistening in familiar logos, the ones roust you from your morning slumber with cheery chit-chat and lulls you to sleep each night with Seinfeld reruns. Be it the good will engendered by all that programming or the fact people just like the cut of your anchors jib, most folk will welcome the sudden appearance of a TV news cameraman - provided you don't get in the paramedics' way or knock over some six year old Sous-chef as she tweaks her Creme Brulee. Don't roll your eyes: that very scenario could play out before lunch - then who's gonna be crying into their Happy Meal?

Not me. I'll have my eyes on the prize: that shimmering blue postage stamp floating in the not so distance. Stare at it long enough and you'll swear you've see it ALL - even if you've only witnessed ten commissioner tempests and a half dozen house fires. But steady exposure to a live viewfinder won't just shorten your attention span. It'll throw your focus out of whack, transmit the pangs of a stevedore down your right side and dare I say make you a little meaner. Yes, I was kinder and gentler before I stared down life through a tube every day. Just ask the wife. But if I was softer back then it's because I was so naive. That'll happen when you ride a desk around a cubicle farm, reciting lines from The Office as if it were sacred text. Me, I'll be out jabbing glass at something salacious, sublime or even sticky - all while swearing the secrets of the universe can be found in the very next close-up...

Just don't ask me to learn the phone system. A photog's got to know his limitations...