Thursday, June 14, 2012
I don't know what the hell's going on in this picture, but I profoundly disapprove. That many in-house lenses trained on a single colleague reeks of conspiracy, the kind of back room huddling that ends with me babysitting six cameras at once while someone counts backwards from twenty in my ear. I'm not kidding! Once a secret meeting ran three hours and before I could hoark down the first doughnut, I was marooned in a hot air balloon with a mobile hop and a leaky car battery. You ever tried to point a dish at a spot on the horizon while battery acid ate away at the rotting wicker bottom that separates you from a sudden plunge? I have and no amount of word games or shadow puppets will make the memory fade. So before you and your executive pals come up with a new way to stretch me and our station's resources to unspeakable lengths just so some doofus can swivel from grin to grimace eight times over, think of the affiliates in River City who don't have the gear to stage this kind of ordnance! What's next - crop circles in the weather garden? Chopper shots of the main anchor's old trench-coat collection? Pray tell, what kind of hopped-up navel gaze-a-thon could justify this kind of lens expenditure? What's that? It's for a 'Photog Special'?
I guess that would be okay.
Just when I thought the John Edwards trial would never end, the damn thing did. No longer needed outside Greensboro's federal courthouse, I returned to my unit, where I attempted to build a shelter of soft news around me. No such luck. Since Judge Carolyn Eagles last dropped her gavel, I have roamed this fruity plain: sticking a lens in victims' faces, circling bent sheet metal and hoisting wobbly antennas over the shadiest of neighborhoods. Why it's enough to make a fella pine for a philandering dandy! But I didn't log in to whine about the lack of whittling conventions in my zip code, but only to check in with my crumbling readership. Helllooo? Remember me - wordy camera nerd with that mother of a writing compulsion? We had some good times you and me. I'd bleed all over my keyboard, hit 'POST' and somehow staunch the flow of pith and ambition that robs me of my sleep. Once in awhile I'd even wake up to a nice review, a swollen link or at least the lack of a restraining order. As career plans go, it makes as much sense as shoving drivel through a tube, but since that's how I spend my walking hours I thought I'd switch it up come evening time.
Trouble is, I'm a photog ... a man of shifting attentions, waning angst and constant obstinance. To expect me to do more than make my daily deadline along with a few new curse words is to ignore the very nature of Photo-Erectus. It's why I'm so well equipped to spotlight the plight of my fellow cameraman (and woman). See, I'm one of them. I got tripod bite marks on the palm of my hand and a disturbingly low opinion of county commissioners. I got three chips on my shoulder about the size of my glass and a funny way of walking when I close one eye. I can smell low light, burp up hurricane and tell you if a lady's gonna talk on camera by the way she holds her purse. Yes, twenty years behind the lens has left me better and bitter, long on what's wrong with the ruling class and shorter of patience with the hoi polloi. If those are the kind of traits you think you can live with, my wife would like to show you a Power Point presentation. When you're done, click back by and we'll go over the kind of lies and recriminations you can expect to find here at the Lenslinger Institute. Just don't hold me to a schedule. I hit a hard deadline every day at dusk and after that my mind kind of wanders. I might eek out a screed on the vanity of man or fold a stack of wash cloths. Either way, you're getting exactly what you paid for, which last time I checked is more than I'm getting to craft these pablum to begin with. That will change some day and when it does, I'm not gonna act surprised. No, I'll show up late and plant my tripod in the center of the room, look around slowly and defy anyone to ask me why the hell I'm wearing a reflective vest and hard hat...
It's my density.