Thursday, 4 October 2012

Sharp Focus Ain't All It's Cracked Up To Be...

I suppose that it was bound to happen sooner or later. I was hoping for later. After years of squinting through a viewfinder, and committing to broadcast the good, bad and the ugly of general life, my eyes have said enough. In fact, i think they may be on the verge of retiring and turning into a couch potato slob, who drinks beer, eats pizza and watches daytime telly.

Sometimes, sharp focus isn't all it's cracked up to be...

They have seen a lot these eyes. It's just that now i have to hold life a little further away in order to be able to focus, and my arms are no longer long enough. I think that most news cameramen would like to be able to hold life a little more at arms length. Further away. It's a wonder that eyes don't have a tilt switch that shuts them down every time you have to film something unsavoury.

Take yesterday for example. Standing on the very spot where a Father has killed his two children and then himself is not a pleasant story to film. The flowers surrounding the scene, the grass scraped back to bare earth to remove the last trace of evidence and the life blood of three people who have not had the chance to live their full lives. The tearful writing on memorial cards i read were heartbreaking, life unexpectedly ripped away leaving those left behind to write a goodbye note.

I put my newly minted glasses on. The words leapt into sharp focus. My camera filmed the scene in colourful, crisp and sharp high definition, coverted to a stream of 1's and 0's for later broadcast. Lifting my eyes from the viewfinder i saw that the cards were no longer a hazy fuzzy jumble of words. They remained in sharp focus through my brand new set of lenses resting on the end of my nose...

I took my glasses off. Sometimes, fuzzy is good.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.


  1. Welcome to the four eyes club, as you say things suddenly spring into focus including the more unpleasent side of the human race. Unfortunately it's the more depressing side of a fantastic job. As the Brits sang to the Yanks after they lost the Ryder Cup "Look on the bright of life"... David

    1. Thanks David, Yep, time has caught up with me, although only slightly. Guess it's a slippery slope from here on in..!