Thursday, 16 May 2013

Helmet, Flak Jacket And Sandbags are A TV News Cameramans Best Friends.

I have just seen a photo sent on the Twitters by Tim Marshall, Foreign correspondent at Sky News. At the moment, he and his cameraman Barnaby Green, are filming in Damascus, Syria.

The streets of Damascus... Helmets required. (Courtesy @Skytwitius)

What struck me is the fact that Barnaby seems to be doing all the right things by wearing his helmet and flack jacket whilst sensibly protecting himself behind a wall of sandbags as the battle rages around the streets of Damascus. It is a dangerous place to be.

I also spotted a Cinesaddle camera support bag slung over his shoulder, just in case the sandbags prove a little too inflexible. Plus of course, they make a lovely comfy seat to plonk your arse on when a little bit of rest comes your way.

All in all, this seems like the perfect photo of how to behave in a war zone when the shit is hitting the fan and things could get deadly. It is however, also a photo of what not to do in a war zone. Why..? Well, if you can, (depending on what device you are reading this on) zoom into the photo, extreme right, about two thirds up from bottom.

There you will see another, unknown TV News Cameraman in a stripy t-shirt, tan coloured trousers with his camera on his shoulder. He is standing in the middle of the street, with no protection whatsoever. No helmet, no flak jacket, nothing. According to Tim, the battle is raging...

I don't know the circumstances of this photo. But let me tell you this... If I were there at that moment, I would be wearing exactly the same kit as Barnaby, our intrepid Sky News Cameraman. I too, would be behind the sandbag wall.

I would also be behind Barnaby. And behind whoever took the photo. In fact, my personal preference would be to be so far behind, that I could watch their report from the comfort of my own home, with a cup of tea.

I wish Tim and Barnaby and their team well and a safe trip. Why not luck..? It seems to me that they are taking the correct precautions to not have to rely on my wishes of good luck. The other unknown cameraman in the picture however...

I wish him the best luck in the world. I think he's going to need it.

Paul Martin is @ukcameraman on Twitter.