Thursday, May 30, 2013

Who Needs Photographers Anyway?

I was floored today by Connie Schultz’s Facebook post relaying that the Chicago Sun Times had fired their entire staff of photographers.  It seems a reporter with a camera or a smart phone should be “good enough” to do the job.  I notice they didn’t fire all the reporters and hand the photographers keyboards.  Could it be that they realize not every photographer can write well?  That begs the question:  what makes them think that every journalist can take a decent photo?

We suffer today in business with the idea that we can cut costs because, given the right tools, everyone can be a generalist.  One person doing two jobs for half the cost is the wave of the future.  Here’s the problem with that theory…you have one person doing two jobs poorly, rather than two people doing one job each exceedingly well.  Everyone can be a generalist, but only at the cost of efficiency and quality.  Truly this is penny wise and pound foolish, since lower quality means fewer sales.  The adage “you get what you pay for” generally rings true, as it does in this case.

I may be one heck of a writer, but I’m all thumbs with a camera.  It doesn’t matter whether I use the film kind, or the digital kind, or my smart phone.  I will get a few decent shots, but I end up deleting close to 95% of the pictures I take.  I simply do not have the gift of photography. 

Photography, like writing, painting, dancing, and sculpting, is not just a learned task.  It’s an art form.  Anyone can take a snapshot, but a professional photographer sees what we, as non-photographers, don’t see.  They see that a certain angle is better or just the right light from just the right direction is needed to convey not only the moment in time, but the feeling, the beauty, the uniqueness that only someone highly skilled in that art form can capture.

In an effort to get with the program, I will make this offer to the powers that be at the Chicago Sun Times:  If you provide the operating room and surgical garb and all the appropriate saws and scalpels, I will be happy to try my hand as your brain surgeon.  I’ll even take pictures.  I’m sure I can do it, given the right equipment, but I can’t guarantee the quality of the result.  I will, however, write one hell of a story about the experience!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


It has been ever-so-tempting to give my opinions on some of the big news stories of the last few weeks, but I decided to refrain.  There is no point in yet another voice expressing horror over the holding of three women hostage for 10 years, practically in their own backyards.  There is no point in my expressing outrage and disappointment over the horrendous waste of taxpayer dollars as the GOP tried for the 37th time to overturn Obamacare. (I think it would be a more successful venture if they waited to see how large a debacle it actually creates before trying to vote it away.)  When I heard about the trains in Connecticut, I managed to put it out of my mind and I fooled myself into believing that I could become immune to tragedy, at least for a little while. 

I admit to escapism, in that, instead of writing about the issues for the past few weeks, I have been indulging in actually working on a new book, or an "old" new book, but one that is only half finished as of this date.  I made myself a firm promise to add 1000-1500 words per day to the manuscript and to finish the writing of it by the end of June.  I have to say that sometimes words just flow and other times I have to wrench them from my fingertips with excruciating pain and slowness, but for two nights now nothing has come forth, despite my best attempts.  I find I am not at all immune to tragedy, as I sit here and mourn and worry about the victims of the tornadoes in Oklahoma.  And so I will fall yet another 1000 words behind…but that’s okay.  There’s a time for everything, and this is not the time for writing.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Wayne LaPierre should have a more thorough background check!

Did he really say that?  Is he really attempting to use the Boston Marathon bombing as a scare tactic to stop people from wanting better background checks?  Yes he did and yes he is.
Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President and CEO of the National Rifle Association (NRA) said, “How many Bostonians wished they had a gun two weeks ago?”

Imagine if you will, and explain to me if you can, how anyone carrying a gun would have prevented the Boston Marathon bombing.  And in lieu of preventing that terrorist action, who would all those armed Bostonians have shot?  The only armed individual who confronted the duo on his own was shot dead.  He was an armed, trained, law enforcement officer at MIT.
It took a couple days to positively identify the perpetrators, so perhaps the citizens of Boston could have shot the college student mistakenly identified by Reddit as the bomber.  Or maybe they could have “protected” themselves by shooting anyone in Boston wearing a hijab.  How many law enforcement officials could have been mistakenly shot while knocking on the doors of citizens as the search for the perpetrators progressed?  Somehow the image of thousands of panicked citizens shooting at any and all perceived threats is a bit frightening.

The other bit of news I digested over the weekend was that passing the Toomey-Manchin bill would have negatively affected the prosperity of the country.  Really?  How is that?  As far as I can tell, the only industry negatively affected by slowing down the sales of weapons would be the gun manufactures.  These are the same said gun manufactures that are funneling millions of dollars into none other than, wait for it…the NRA.
I’ve said it before, and it bears repeating.  I like guns.  I like having the right to own a gun if I choose to do so.  But better background checks do not negate the second amendment and they do not affect my rights.  They are needed to help keep weapons out of the hands of people with histories of violent behavior or mental illness.

Yes, I agree, that registration and background checks will not prevent every criminal from obtaining a weapon.  Yes, I agree that there will inevitably be more terrorists or psychopaths who will acquire weapons illegally and use them to evil ends.  But if better background checks and registration stop even a small percentage of such catastrophic events, why would anyone object?