Friday, January 14, 2005

Now, what you didn't see. . .

. . .can easily fill more than thirty seconds of airtime.

I've been out here all week and it's been as bad as you might imagine at the scene. I saw the man who lost most of his family and I passed on the opportunity to snap his picture. I've done that before. I wouldn't hesitate as part of my job (I'd try to be discreet), but giving him that moment of peace seemd more important and appropriate than me having that shot.

This is Carl Stein. You don't know him, but he's the photographer who shot the footage of the mudslide on day one. If you followed the story at all, you've seen that video.

He told me that he was asked why on the raw tape you don't hear him at all using more colorful language to describe what he was seeing. Not a single f*** or sh** was heard the whole time he rolled.

Carl told me it wasn't about him. He's a photographer and he knows better than to make running commentary when his camera is rolling (I'm paraphrasing here). If he talks, the story becomes less about what he's shooting.

I believe that's true.

It's a shame you couldn't also see the part on the raw tape where residents assaulted him. Nothing serious, but he got jumped on by one woman and some other people came up and shoved him and his camera around. A part of me almost understands the anger the residents must have felt, but it was still wrong.

I admire the fact that through all that, Carl still did his job. I'll have to get another look at the raw tape, but I don't remember hearing him say anything as he was being assaulted.

It's not an important part of the story for most people this week. It's just something I hope I can keep in mind if I'm ever in similar circumstances. Carl set a good example for me and other news photographers. He handled the situation well and behaved in a professional manner.

Let me just say it now, so I don't have to say it next time when I'm working.

"Holy sh**, look at that!"

"Get the fu** off of me. I'm just trying to do my job!"


gemmak said...

This landslide is terrible and like you I suppose I can see where those who assaulted the photographer are coming from but he is only trying to do his job after all is said and done. A wise man in not reacting to it, a difficult time, emotions run high.....those involved would probably realise under different less traumatic circumstances.

Michelle said...

Fantastic post, and full credit to Carl and yourself..true diplomacy.

dkgoodman said...

People lash out in pain. It takes a big person to sympathise with a victim and not make their life any worse with retribution. I'd like to know more about Carl. Your station has a good crew there, beFrank. It doesn't go unnoticed.

beFrank said...

I understand the anger, but I draw a firm line at the violence. We have a responsibility to do our job fully every time we go out in the field. Anyone who feels like it's okay to attack anyone should be held accountable for their actions.

I'm not diplomatic, just Carl. Heck, I react badly pretty often. I'm working on it.