Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Attention on Dreck

Keith on the Wing
Like a Navy SEAL dropped into an enemy compound, the veteran photog doesn't stop until the target is acquired. Okay, so according to the latest intelligence, running around shooting news is nothing like offing lofty despots. Still, we do get to take down the occasional slumlord -- and that's after we rake him over the coals in an overly-promoted special report featuring flashy graphics and ominous drones. But I digress. What I really logged in to talk about is the heavily-seasoned 'slinger: that guy (or gal) in your shop who was dragging glass around this town when you were still mastering your multiplication tables. They're not exactly the Greatest Generation, but they are a cut above your modern day news combatant, and I say that not just because I myself wear the stripes of a lifer. Okay, that IS partly why, but you'll understand if I boost my own kind, won't you?

Just look at the specimen above. The graying hair, the taut muscles, the fierce of look of concentration... "Did I turn the camera on?" he's probably asking himself. I dunno, Chief, you're the one who grabbed the reflector and tried to burn the talent's retinas out. Figured it was some kind of old school finishing move. Hmm? You need to me to work the overnight shift the rest of the week? Lemme pile on some accolades. The grizzled news shooter is part Poet. Plumber. Pirate. They are hoarders of moments, harbingers of horrors and dispensers of whimsy. With a dedication to frame rivaled only by their knowledge of local eateries, they are a fierce opponent and a staunch ally. And they're fun! Older photogs don't take anything too seriously - except their next deadline. Get in the way of that and they'll fillet you with a rusty Leatherman. If they can find it.

So, no - being a stateside news shooter is nothing like being a member of the special forces, though both require the deft touch of an operator. Whereas SEALS rappel into hostile territory and spray lead everywhere, we park our boxy transports on the edge of peril and bitch until the voices in our head(phone)s tell us it's time to go home. Ain't America grand?    

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