Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Give One Pause
Thanks to the camera-shaped growth on my shoulder, I spent my twenties inthethickofit. Crumpled cockpits, brazen blazes, inelegant weather - nothing short of a restraining order would keep me from savoring the latest imbroglio. But after years of gorging myself on handcuffs and house fires, I lost my taste for top stories. So too do most photogs foolish enough to mistake A/V geekery for a career. Hey, CSI: Schenectady may make every murder look like a garden party, but your average homicide scene is a stone cold drag - and not just for the stiff under the sheet. Callous? Youbetcha. That's what happens when you spend ten years staring at politicians and body bags. Next thing you know you're the crab-ass at the crime tape, bitching to all who will listen how the Medical Examiner in your old market would have been here by now. If that guy sounds a lot like you, do us all a favor:
That's what Richard Adkins is doing... I think. Truth is, I don't know where exactly dude is, though judging from the above photo, I'd say he's due east of the Lenslinger Institute. And while I have no idea what he's focusing on down by the shore, I damn well know what he's looking for: Respite, relevance and perhaps a cool reflection shot. Throw in a boat ride and you have the makings of a most satisfying sortie. Will it make the first few minutes of the very next newscast? Will they pay me more if it does? No? Then ease up on the inquisition, would ya? My man's trying to steady his shot. How else if he gonna tell the story he's formulating in his head? Chances are he's got the thing half-edited in his frontal lobe. See, long before he hunches over a tree stump with his laptop and little yellow lunch box, he's got a good grip on the narrative taking shape in his cerebellum. And I'm pretty sure it doesn't call for some failed thespian in a trench coat doing his best Robert Stack.
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
But for the true cameramanthropologist, propping up spokes-models and turning interns into auteurs is a surefire recipe for brain rot. Lead stories may get all the cool graphics, but they're painfully pedestrian to produce. I myself can pound out a pretty gripping update on the latest drive-by shooting without breaking a sweat - provided the sheriff begins his briefing on time. And that wall of flame I erected in an instant? Strictly point and shoot, chief. It takes a lot more skill to find your kill, be it a one of a kind character in some backwater town or some human cartoon no one ever peruses. Consider it the Church of Kuralt - a denomination we Carolinians are especially fond of. And while our man Adkins would never compare himself to Father Charles, he squats at the very same altar, knowing that if redemption can't be found in those counties less covered, chances are a languid lunch is in the offing.
Can't get that at the crime scene.