Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cameraman Bias

For the past month, I've been hauling cameras and tripods all across the country, taking pictures and videos in a professional capacity. It is part of my work, which constantly requires me to find new things to do.

I love it, but some of the people I worked with before were quite surprised - I sensed - that I was doing 'hard labour'.

I have held positions before in various media companies that require little to no physical exertion or in the idea generation category. To some people, it may seem, doing this is a demotion of sort.

They look at me with pity in their eyes and sometimes, laughter. I'm sure none of it was malicious.

This baffles me, though. I was and am excited with using the Canon 5D Mark II as well as the Panasonic P2 HDV, the Sony camera, and getting the necessary field experience to familiarize myself with all the gear. I am not an expert after a few weeks, but I understand the fundamentals, which is what I was going for.

I have been talking about getting my hands on these cameras since 2005. It is one of my dreams. And there are camera people whom I admire.

To some people, though, hauling gear and standing up to shoot does not seem to be an honourable profession.

My take is that any job is honourable as long as it is not motivated by spite, hatred or anger. Any money or food gleaned from honest work is good food and good money.

I see no shame in camera work. I mean, there are DOPs in the States who make more money and earn more respect than anyone in Malaysia. There are photographers who charge US$100,000 per shot. PER SHOT.

I sense that MOST Malaysians do not understand that photo as well as videography are both crafts as well as art-forms. I understand only the basics of the craft, and some people have elevated it to an art-form.

It's like how when Yasmin's films came out and everyone was talking about story. Bunohan came out, and people start talking about visual direction and the like.

I believe the hallmark of any civilisation, any society, is in the appreciation of entertainment as well as the craft that goes into it.

Therefore, entertainment is king. And all entertainment really is, is just communication.