Editors Note:


EDITOR'S NOTE: Fresh off a three year managerial stint, your friendly neighborhood lenslinger is back on the street and under heavy deadline. As the numbing effects of his self-imposed containment wear off, vexing reflections and pithy epistles are sure to follow...

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Doom with a View

Race Cam
All that I know about NASCAR can best be summed up with the words "Boogity Boogity", but one need not be a racing fan to have seen the horrific crash at Daytona this weekend. Me, I've only been to one such race and it was only because my bosses were paying me to be there. Which is why I so identify with one particular person in the above frightening frame. There, just left of center, a figure trying desperately to get away from the point of impact does so under heavy glass...

Closer CamOkay, so it's no surprise a dude with a fancycam would be at the right place at the wrong time. In this case it's an ESPN cameraman named Craig. I don't know Craig, of course, but I'd like to buy him several rounds of his favorite drink and listen to what he has to say. Chances are he'd tell me it all happened too quickly to process. And while you don't have to have a face full of viewfinder to be overwhelmed by inertia and debris, it does provide an additional degree of disbelief.

Some blame the tiny black and white screen shimmering in the middle distance. Stare at it long enough and you begin to feel you're watching television, not making it. These days, however, those screens are bigger, closer and drenched in every hue under the sun. You'd think that kind of color and clarity would remind the operator that what they're seeing is all too real. You'd be wrong.

Crash CamTwice in my life big things have tried to kill me and the camera on my shoulder. I'd be lying if I didn't tell you I'm always on the lookout for number 3. And while that kind of vigilance comes with middle age, I'm as susceptible to the lure of flickering pixels as I've ever been. See, there's a real kick to watching life through a tube. The laminated ID around our necks affords us unparalleled access. The cameras we so cradle take us even closer. As a result, we photogs feel like a part of the scenery - be it a flimsy fence surrounding a racetrack or a ribbon of yellow tape enveloping a crime scene...

What's my point? Don't know that I have one. But what I'm sure that I possess is a similar world view to that Craig the cameraman. Some folk might seek therapy after such a grisly incident. Most photogs, however, wear that kind of trauma like a badge of honor, a notch on their camera strap that bleeds street cred and chafes when no one's looking. I'm guilty of it myself, but the older I get, the older I want to get.

So do me a favor. The next time you're incredibly close to something sketchy, enjoy the view. But if that little voice in the back of your head begins screaming, do heed its plea. It's only your common sense, telling you to exit, stage whatever. Do so, for no piece of video is worth your name on a grave. Sure, people might marvel over what you captured there at the end of your life. Hell, they'll remember that shot forever. But make no mistake...

They'll forget YOU.

2 comments:

Amanda said...

That's how Charlie Traub was killed (ironically at Daytona no less).

His death even though he was forgotten to the point even the Newseum didn't know about him until two years ago is why news photographer unions still exist to this day in some shops.

http://www.newsphotog.com/2011/02/tragedy-at-dayton-beach/

Steve said...

Well said, friend. ;)