|Multi-skilled journalist in the making! Lorna Prichard from ITV © Glyn Davies 2011|
She was accompanied by a mentor her camera training, award winning cameraman, Mark Doleman. According to Lorna, he's the best regional cameraman ITV has got - won a gold ING award (ITV News Group) for his camera-work, twice now (including this year's awards back in March), competing against colleagues from Granada, Tyne Tees, Anglia, Meridian etc. Lorna was therefore under very expert guidance as she dealt with putting me at ease, preparing her interview questions, relaying plans of camera techniques to Mark, and of course physically dealing with the TV camera, tripods and sound equipment - a tall order considering she only looked a few inches higher than the tripod !
|Checking microphone connections for TV camera © Glyn Davies 2011 (iPhone)|
However, the whole day was great fun, Lorna seemed genuinely confident when operating the gear, and obviously really came into her own when she conducted the actual interview, in which she also featured! It appears that ITV want their current journalists to also become directors, camera-operators, presenters, producers and editors! Lorna had to do all her editing via laptops in London the day after the shoot. I was actually very impressed by what she is now taking on board, knowing how much dedication, skill and sheer commitment even being a 'still' photographer takes.
|Award winning camerman Mark Doleman mentors journalist Lorna Prichard © Glyn Davies 2011|
I did feel sorry for Mark, in a way, in that already skilled journalists are now being trained up by qualified experts like Mark, to do their own job. It's not just training up competition, it's quite literally in this case, shooting yourself in the foot, but it seems this is the way many TV news companies are going, and a parallel to what's happening in commercial photography. On further enquiry, it seems that journalists might study for maybe five years to become qualified, whereas camera operators might only train for a year or less, so it's much harder for Mark and other camera crew to train to be journalists (even if they even wanted to).
|Lorna Prichard shooting second viewpoint footage for the dunes piece. © Glyn Davies 2011|
I see that a lot of my colleagues are being asked to shoot movie footage these days, as clients almost 'expect' them to own HD capable Canon 5DMk2s. They are also expected to provide video editing and broadcast preparation, which are very different disciplines to stills photography. The thing is, the talented few who can really master everything, rather than diffuse to a 'Jack-of-all-trades', must be a tiny minority surely? The irony is that some of the photographers I know who are biting the digi-movie bullet, are employing personnel to help them with these tasks, so unless the assistants are being paid peanuts, why don't clients just pay true experts in their fields in the first place ?
|"Two Girls Paddled", Newborough © Glyn Davies 2011|
Conversely, in this age of 'citizen journalism' where anyone with an iPhone seems to be able to get footage broadcast on-line or on TV, I guess a seriously well trained, mentored member of staff, capable of working independently, is a real bonus, in terms of logistics, speed and accessibility ?
|"A Bird's Journey", Newborough © Glyn Davies 2011|
All that said, looking at some of the complete rubbish in the media these days, from print to TV - shallow stories, shallow lives, sensationalism, celebrity worship, greed, materialism and a "Good enough" mentality, means that I see little in the way of 'brilliant' commercial photography these days, certainly little that is genuinely new or cutting edge. Papers seem to be missing all the powerful, insightful, eye-catching, world-changing imagery that I grew up with, in earlier years of the Independent, Guardian, Telegraph and so on, let alone Time, Time-Life and Picture Post! To be fair, some of the current Sunday supplements do seem to now be printing at least some powerful imagery again. Our technology has moved on leaps and bounds, the ease of use of equipment, technology and even software has allowed more people than ever to 'have a go' and indeed sometimes get some very acceptable results, but are those who have made international names for themselves, in different fields from journalism to photography, really immersed in critically different disciplines or do they still predominantly concentrate on one primary activity ? Are there international names who have achieved 'fame' by tackling a multitude of skills and handling everything themselves ?
|"Curves in the Dunes", Newborough © Glyn Davies 2011|
For me at least, I know that an absolute focus on what I'm good at, and most passionate about, is imperative. My motivation, my heart and my desire is all about getting the absolute best photographic images and prints from a subject almost blue-printed within me. It's time consuming enough keeping up with business admin and PR let alone learning how to be a movie cameraman, film editor, producer and so on. So I am genuinely fascinated by this new approach, and if the confidence Lorna exudes whilst she works comes through in the final TV news piece, then maybe I'll 'up my own game' and learn new skills or maybe I'll just eat my hat! I am greatly looking forward to seeing how our day of filming translates into the 1.5 minutes of actual footage - the shots looked interesting, the angles creative, and of course Lorna is integrating actual images which I shot on the day with her, as well as a series of my Welsh portfolio work - so it should be a rich visual feast, or at least snack ! :-)
|It's a Wrap! Lorna Prichard and Mark Doleman from ITV © Glyn Davies 2011|
Thanks to both of these guys for their great company and genuine interest in my work, both of them are inspirational and talented professionals.
The final sequence will be shown on ITV's "Wales Tonight" programme sometime soon. It broadcasts daily at 6pm during the week, and again at weekends but with slight variations in start times. It 'may' be shown this weekend or next, but if I hear sooner I will let you know!
All words and images are strictly © Glyn Davies 2011
The landscape images are all for sale and will shortly be found on-line at www.glyndavies.com