Saturday, September 26, 2009

Moth to a Flame

Margaret Moth
Compared to Margaret Moth, I am but a chattering coward. Then again, so's most every other human. Unknown to the average news consumer, this CNN camerawoman has long been recognized in international circles as THE person you want behind the lens in a war zone. Quite simply, she's fearless. When bullets filled the air and grown men dive for cover, the mercurial Moth shouldered her own weapon and bravely waded into the fray. Time and time again, the resulting images brought home the horror of combat and oppression, making even the most casual viewer flinch with fear. But her storied career and very life almost ended in 1992, when a Serbian sniper riddled the vehicle she was in with bullets. The ensuing injuries to her face and jaw robbed her of some of her beauty, but none of her grace. She eventually recovered and returned to the global hot spots she thrived on documenting. Now, with their pioneering photog in the final stages of terminal cancer, CNN is paying proper respects with a two part documentary on her incredible life and untamed spirit. Lenslingers the world over would add to their education by viewing this potent film, but they'd do well to dismiss their opinions about what a woman can (and will) do in the face of danger, for Margaret Moth rendered such preconceptions obsolete.

That, and a million indelible images, will be her legacy.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

BamBam on the Lam

Cousin Bam BamLest anyone think I'm the only member of my tribe exiled to a Tar Heel affiliate, there is another! Benjamin Canady, my mother's brother's son punches all the right buttons just down the road from El Ocho, proving that others of my ilk CAN play well with others. How we both came to toil in local television, I'm not really sure - as the most we ever shared as kids was the occasional headlock in Grandmother's yard. However it happened, I'm quite proud of my kinder, gentler cousin - if for no other reason than the fact he goes by the nickname BamBam. Lately however, Barney Rubble's boy has been vanishing before our very eyes, shedding pounds and - gasp! - running. THAT'S where I draw the line. No relative of mine's gonna run unless he's being chased by zombies, revenuers or worst of all, TV consultants. Come to think of it, I'm gonna jump in Unit 4 and head towards Capitol City for a first class intervention. Maybe then he'll stop making me look so bad with his people skills, ninja-like reflexes and sunny disposition!

Probably not, though...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Details to Swallow

Watching the Detectives
If you think hanging out with the PO-leece is a fascinating way to spend the day, you've never tried to pry the particulars from a reticent detective . Actually, the constable in question was nothing but helpful the other day when a couple of competitors and I convened on the scene of fresh misfortune. I'll keep the greasy details to myself; mainly because they were in such short supply that afternoon. No bother. Half the time the key to responding to spot news is merely proving you were there. Sure, we'd all love to see Bigfoot stumble from the thicket and tell us where his weed was, but more times than not you're lucky if an officer wanders over and drops some cop-speak...

"Suspectgainedentyrat1400hoursatwhichtimeresidentsfledonfoot"... Who talks like that?

Lotsa occifers, that's who. Hell, I'm convinced they take a specific course at the Academy focused on draining the color out of the English language. It's understandable, really. There's plenty of talking hair-do's standing by to hype, extrapolate and misconstrue. I think that's why most cops prefer dealing with photogs. We're far less accusatory, often own property in the area and rarely travel with a stack of autographed 8X10 glossies (Well, there was that ONE guy). I know that if I were the bearer of bad news, I'd be more trusting of some rumpled roadie than a licensed spotlight hog. That's not to say all reporters are bad. Some of my best friends are reporters! Besides, what's to tell before the CSI guys arrive? Oh and when I say CSI guys, I'm not talking about those trenchcoated couples cracking wise in primetime; more like some dude in a wrinkled jumpsuit with smudged eyeglasses and a spit cup in his truck...

Now, what DID we chat about there at the lake? Honestly? Leftover meatloaf vs. babyback ribs, the stickiness of your average mast and the strange case of the reporter who photo-blogs her every other outfit. Now THAT'S a talker...

Monday, September 21, 2009

Friday Night Shite

Old SchoolAhhh, high school football season, that special time of year when TV stations place high-dollar fancycams into the hands of interns, part-timers and that slacker down the hall who thinks he might like to be a PHO-tog. Dashing from game to game in car-jacked news units, they strut and prowl the sidelines of their former youth; zooming in on tight-ends and wide receivers, whipping underage crowds into orgasmic frenzy and gathering whatever leftover glory they can stuff into a rolled-up program. I guess if you're a certain type of sports fan, it's nirvana. Not so for the everyday shooter. Those missing camera batteries, the twisted viewfinder knobs, that delicious smell of cigarette smoke permeating every pore of your mobile office - why it's enough to volunteer for weekend call, just so you can keep your gear from being groped and tickled...

Okay, so I'm venting. But if you've ever checked in on a Monday morning to find your tools of the trade misplaced, manhandled or otherwise maligned, you'd understand. Then again, maybe you wouldn't. Maybe those fleeting seconds of gridiron glory are more than enough to make up for those hard-target searches every seven days. Me, I could do without these weekly games of hide and seek. Then again, I'm not your typical sports fan. Sure, I tune in every Sunday to watch my beloved Panthers lose in glorious high-def, but otherwise young men in tights have never really turned me on. I went to football games in high school, mind you, but more to flirt with girls and swig Everclear than ever pay attention to what was happening on the field. Since then, I've lived a full life without ever developing a regional crush on up and coming athletes, but as the above photo proves, even a bookworm like me shot local gridiron Back In The Day (1990 in my case).

With that in mind, I'll try to be more forgiving when it comes to you weekend warriors. It would be a lot easier though, if you'd treat the equipment less like the padded athlete you so idolize and more like the cheerleaders you never went out with. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to run a DNA test on a few floorboard french fries...