TALES FROM TINSELTOWN: Don’t shoot the photographers; they can’t stand the competition

All publicists must deal at times with a peculiar species known as ’the photographer.’ As a film publicist, I deal with set (unit) photographers every day and find them to be dissimilar in all aspects except one: they’re never satisfied.

All publicists must deal at times with a peculiar species known as ’the photographer.’ As a film publicist, I deal with set (unit) photographers every day and find them to be dissimilar in all aspects except one: they’re never satisfied.

All publicists must deal at times with a peculiar species known as

’the photographer.’ As a film publicist, I deal with set (unit)

photographers every day and find them to be dissimilar in all aspects

except one: they’re never satisfied.



Photographers are interesting, humorous and adventurous. They are also

whiners, moaners and manipulators. Maybe that’s why I like them - I can

relate.



A good publicist must be a reassuring and supportive paternal figure to

these temperamental artists, who will endlessly unload upon you their

myriad woes. Here’s a sample; you’ve probably heard them all:



’There’s not enough light for me on this shot. Why do these

cinematographers insist on playing their macho games by shooting movies

with no light?’



’The focus puller keeps elbowing me. He is such a brute.’



’The AD (assistant director) won’t allow me near the dolly camera. Speak

to him now, please. I must have this shot!’



’The star despises me. She killed all of my photos. I know it’s

personal.’



Despite all this, these mad geniuses turn out images that grace the

covers and pages of magazines, inspiring us to see a movie or buy

unnecessary products.



The photographer I’m working with now is legendary. He frets, worries

and imagines impossible worst-case scenarios. And that’s on his days

off.



I tease him that he doesn’t just see the glass as half-empty, but also

cracked and containing a bug. He merely looks away with his worrisome

eyes and remarks, ’Glass? I should be so lucky to have any glass at

all.’



This kind, sweet man - ’George,’ we’ll call him - requires a glass of

wine to calm his nerves sufficiently enough to, as he puts it, ’prepare

for the horrors of the day.’



Like all photographers, George is fiercely protective of his turf and

cringes when I invite photographers from key print media to the set.

’Why do you do this to me,’ he hisses. ’Are you a sadist? Why torment me

so?’



Last night, a photographer for The New York Times came to the set to

shoot some specials. It was pure torture to watch the expression on

George’s face the entire evening. I had to remind him that the images

for the Times were behind-the-scenes shots, in black and white, that

were different in style and composition from his work.



’You,’ I exclaimed, ’are the best. Your pictures rule. The only reason

we’re doing this film at all is to provide you with a canvas equal to

your immense talents.’



Temporarily appeased, he walked away, muttering, ’Well, I’m quite sure

I’m not the only reason.’



Five minutes later he returned. ’Has that horrible man gone yet? Please

send him away.’



’Don’t shoot the photographer,’ I pleaded. ’That’s his job.’





Lawrence Mitchell Garrison is an LA-based freelance publicist and

writer.



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