Things I've Learned From The Movies and TV
February 2002

by James Colburn

aving recently seen the movies "Harrison's Flowers" and "War Stories" I felt the need to sum up a few truths that I've learned from watching photographers on the big (and little) screen:

1) All photographers wear khaki vests. All of the time. Photographers never put anything in the pockets of their khaki vests.

2) Photographers never take just one photo. They always take three or four, even when photographing a static object or person.

3) Photographers only need one lens. Sometimes it'll look like a 50mm lens, sometimes it'll look like a 28-70mm zoom lens but it will always have the capability of zooming from 20mm to 5000mm.

4) This miracle lens (see #3) is probably an F/1 or better. It also has night-vision capability. COLOR night vision capability. The lens has an advanced image stabilization system and is easily hand-holdable up to it's maximum focal length of 5000mm. In the dark.

5) Each roll of film contains 1200 exposures but is easily re-wound in 3-4 seconds.

6) Photographers never carry camera bags. They don't really need to since each roll of film has 1200 exposures and they only need to carry one lens and one camera body.

7) Half of all camera motor drives sound like a 1980's-era Canon A2 Power Winder. The other half sound like a 1980's-era Canon Motor Drive MA.

8) Cameras never break, even if dropped from a great height. If a photographer falls or tumbles down a hill or into a ravine no damage will occur to any camera, even if the photographer lands with his or her full weight and pushes the camera into the mud.

9) There are ravines everywhere and they are photographer magnets.

10) Lenses never need cleaning.

11) Photographers rarely, if ever, need passports or visas. They are always able to get on a flight within an hour to anywhere in the world. Direct. Photographers are always seated in First Class and have no checked luggage.

12) Every car rental facility in the world has many four wheel drive Jeeps or Land Rovers available and they are all reserved for photographers. They are special vehicles that never need gas. They are also bulletproof. In the event that the vehicle is stolen, damaged or destroyed the car rental company will waive any claims. Credits cards have an infinite limit and are accepted everywhere in the world.

13) It is perfectly okay to use a flash when photographing a hearing at the US Senate or House of Representatives. Be sure to tell this to the nice man from the US Capitol Police as he hauls your ass out of the room, confiscates your press pass and escorts you out of the building.

14) It is also okay to use a flash during Presidential news conferences and briefings. Be sure to tell this to the nice man from the US Secret Service as he hauls your ass out of the room, confiscates your press pass and escorts you out of the White House.

15) All male photographers are babe magnets no matter how ugly, dirty, sweaty or foul-mouthed they may be. All of the women attracted to male photographers are beautiful. If something happens to "their" photographer they will leave their jobs and their families to find and rescue him.

16) All female photographers are beautiful. They are always beautifully but subtly made up and their make up never runs or streaks. Their hair never, ever, gets messed up. All of the men attracted to female photographers are handsome. They will seriously injure anyone threatening or injuring "their" photographer. They all want to get married and have children.

17) Every laptop has a built-in satellite phone with instant high-speed Internet access and picture transmission capabilities. These laptops have built-in C41 processing machines and ultra high-resolution film scanners. These laptops fold up to the size of a deck of cards and fit neatly into one of the pockets of the photographers' khaki vest.

17) If a photographer is killed his friends may mourn him or her for as much as 30 seconds but none of them will think to take the dead photographer's last rolls of film with them so that the dead photographer's death might not have been in vain....

© James Colburn
Contributing Writer

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