Like the red-shirted members of a Star Trek landing party, TV News photogs can be considered pretty expendable. But take on an alien landscape without us and you'll wish we were there to beam you up. Long before Kirk banged his first purple chick, rugged individual types were capturing what passes for life on this planet. It ain't always pretty, but neither is the atmosphere within range of Uranus. As for the view, it's the kind of horizon that blinds you to the absurdity of it all, until you find yourself processing atrocity with tact, alacrity and no small amount of smack-talk.
But don't take my word for it. Ask Joey Flash. That's him fronting in the photo above, a fine action shot taken by WSB reporter George Howell. It wasn't so long ago that Joey Avary was an El Ocho neophyte, a giddy hipster familiar with lenses but not yet fluent in news. That changed quickly. After a crash course in the art of the grab from the Lenslinger Institute, Joey left us for the funkier climes of Asheville. I, for one, thought the rarefied air there would suit this goober to a wrinkled T, but not long after scouring Western Carolina, dude ran like hell to the ATL. Now he races up and down the parking lot known as Atlanta traffic, reliving the grind in glorious sixteen by nine.
You could say I'm proud of him, but that would denote responsibility for his success. Not so. My tutelage consisted of little more than a few tall tales and a prime directive or two. Hey, here's one now: "Don't take yourself too seriously." That's something Avary's got in spades and it's a quality sorely lacking in certain camera circles. So while I change batteries in my tri-corder, take a moment to salute this early graduate of the cameraman academy. Just don't get between him and an assignment, or he'll threaten you with one mother of a mind-meld.
And judging from the way this guy's brain works, that'd be worth a dozen trips to the holo-deck....