SideWalk Ghosts / Interview 5: It’s More Than The News Coverage

I ask, “Where are you from?”  He says, “Wherever I’m passing by.”

Today I had the opportunity to photograph the news anchors of Univision 34, Los Angeles. A great group of people to work with and a ton of fun to shoot. Can’t post the photos right now, but soon you will see them all over LA and on the web.

We started the shoot very early in the morning and finished in the evening. A very full day. No gripes; I love to be busy – plus I had a 365 plan for the day. A perfect plan in my mind; simple, straight forward and easy breezy – just grab someone at lunch break.

But as life always does, the curve ball came… unfinished business locked me to the mobile phone. Still no problem; shift to fallback plan – find a willing person in the hallway at the end of the shoot. Strike two: wrapped the shoot and the halls are quite.

Adding a touch of stress, it’s 8pm, I’m now in the parking structure, sitting in the driver’s seat, car running, and ready to reverse out of the space. Memories of the evening before fall upon me as I struggle to shift my car to reverse in prepping to exit an echoing garage. For whatever reason the gear shift decides to give me grief. My wife and I have a saying, “If it’s not broken, it must not belong to us.” Two nights in a row of car issues… @!*%#^$#!!!!!

With time burning, I reach for the owner’s manual and prepare for a fight. Here’s the blow-by-blow. “Honda throws a stinging low blow,” burying the table of contents in a strangely designed booklet. But no chump to adversity, Radstone quickly regains his composure and side steps to the glossary. Honda counters with an overly simplified list of topics and complex listings of unrelated page references. “Oh no! Looks like Radstone is going down early,” knees weak, body trembling, he’s sagging for the mat and reaching for his AAA card. The shame of it all, AAA two nights in a row… for the same car… what a looser. “But wait, a glimmer of hope,” Radstone’s stomach growls, desperately in need of transportation to the nearest dining establishment. And amidst to on-setting attack of abdominal warnings, a vague spark of hope comes into focus, snapping into view through a sugar crashing blurriness. I strain my eyes, concentrating one more time on an overly cluttered glossary, “and yes, I ready to throw the fight winning blow,” gear shift release button – page 64. Radstone jabs, “insert ignition key into hidden slot,” shifter moves to neutral, Honda drops to the canvas, “1, 2, 3, bla, bla, bla, 10. Out!!!!! The winner by Knock Out!  Radstone! Holy hell, got to love those secret panels.

Event behind me, and still needing to find a person to shoot, I accept the fate that is in store for me. Load my gear, and on the drive home, find a point of interest to stop in searching for a person to photograph. Gear loaded, it is time to exit the parking structure and start my quest.

As I exit, a lone stranger appears, Hector – one of Univision’s news photographers returning from the day’s assignments. I approach him and it’s all thumbs up.

On the list of All Things Happen for a Reason, the car delay ends up working for a purpose. An earlier exit would have made me miss meeting Hector, who taught me a thing or two of what news shooters go through.

A few worthy notes on Hector’s commitment to his craft:
• His news van is really his office.
• Everyday he commutes to, and from, Los Angeles and San Bernardino in bringing the news to us. Not a short drive.
• He has been nominated for an Emmy.
• Has one documentary under his belt that was selected to be featured at the San Diego Latino Film Festival.

But here is what is really impressive:
From 1999 to 2005 Hector’s assignment was to cover events happening on the Mexico / California border. He tells me of things that I choose not to write. With respect and a smile he shares these stories with a degree of humility. With all my years of portrait and advertising photography, I have never found myself in the depth of situations Hector shares with me. In only a few minutes he opens my eyes to the courage of media photographers. Here is a really cool young guy, just getting married, who has looked tragedy right in the face and can share it with the balance of a seasoned spiritualist.

All I can say is, “Thanks Hector, and keep up the meaningful work!”

Until Tomorrow,

RR

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