Friday, September 17, 2010
"Pretend I'm Not Here..."
A seasoned 'slinger knows how to blend, all right, but there's only so much camouflage you can manage when you're the proverbial bull in the all too real China shop. That's why when you see a pro like Weaver hunched over at lunchtime sans tripod and light, you can guarantee you're having a better day than him. That's because unlike what most people think, TV News Photographers aim for realism. That's right, if we'd wanted to sit around twiddling C-Stands and reciting bad movie dialogue we'd have gone to film school. We're way too impatient for that! Give us the open road and the jack-knifed semi, the police car cockpit and the hopped-up SWAT cop, the eternal meeting and shiny-shovel pre-speech. And yes, give us the charity bake sales and all-night diners, somewhere right in the middle of everything where there's lot of foot traffic and absolutely no expectation of a cameraman. It's there I'll thrive, for as a fully licensed photog, I’m most comfortable at being uncomfortable.
And not just physically, either. Any camera carrier worth his (or her) weight in dying batteries can suffer the slings and arrows of public opinion with the toughest tax collector out there. Why, in many ways we’re protected from heckling, impervious to nerves and unaffected by shunning. How do we work up such callouses on our candy-coated shells? Exposure to the elements, I guess. I know in my twenty years behind the lens I’ve learned when to cower in the eye-cup, when to stop, drop and (always) roll, and of course, when to sling it around the room a little. As a result there are few places I won’t trod - provided I have a highly logo’d camera to hide behind. Otherwise I’m a bit remote, difficult to pin down, harder to impress. Maybe that’s because I’m used to folks talking into my shoulder, calling me “Mom” or struggling just to spell Tee-Vee as I pass. Hey, I’m not ignoring you. I’m extending your dignity with one snug-ass lens cap. Don’t worry, you won’t thank me later.
But what does the preceding screed have to do with my partner in crime all bent over the baked goods like that? Meh - not a lot. But something about that lady’s expression plus the posture of all involved in said snapshot tells me there were some awkward moments there in the sweet shoppe. I don’t know why some folks get so vexed whenever something shiny points their way. Some are simply not where they’re supposed to be: off work, up and around, entwined in the limbs of some unauthorized other. I get that - and will do my best to protect your identity if not infidelity. Flash me a badge and I’ll really stay out of your way. Still, even at his svelte new weight, Weaver’s a little big for a fly on the wall. So just keep walking and no one gets hurt for while there’s no need to reach for that swatter, it’s equally unjust getting your muffins in an uproar.
Besides, that kind of thing usually costs extra.