Stories of faith, hope and encouragement


Photo opportunity or opportunism?

Phone rang the other day… photo desk of national newspaper asks if I can accompany a writer to Big White ski resort, 90 minutes south of here.
“Cool,” says I. “What’s the story?”
“That Aussie, Leigh Barnier, that was killed in the avalanche…?,” says the PE, probing my reaction. “A reporter is doing a story on how the family is coping with his death. We need some shots of the family… you know gathered together, a relative grieving…”. His tone was open, the sentence left hanging. It was my turn to speak.
It’s amazing how my mind works… in the time it takes for my stomach to turn, I somehow manage to compute a day’s wage from my cost of doing business and add a marginal calculation for how much that new 1Ds Mark III of Canon’s will set me back on a lease to own arrangement. Simultaneously, I have pre-visualized the skier’s lounge with several family members – some seated, some standing, one wearing in a thick knot sweater with a cup of hot chocolate in hand – all gazing mournfully up at the mountain that took their boy. Ouch.
“Thanks,” I say, “but I’m going to have to pass on this one.”
There’s got to be something wrong with me. In my relatively short career I’ve turned down some real doozey’s. Like the food mag that wanted a cover shot close up of a lipsticked babe kissing the end of a jalapeno pepper; much as I needed the coin then, I couldn’t figure out a way of explaining to the kids where their grocery money was coming from that day.
Then there was the time JLo and Redford were filming the movie “An Unfinished Life” in Kamloops. Lopez was all over the news because of her off and on marriage with Ben Affleck and a friend on the security team offered me a sketched map of where the starlet was staying. Temptation played with my mind for days before I decided to reject paparazzi as a calling.  That very day, the Province newspaper reported that a single pic of JLo kissing anyone but Ben could yield $50K, and one of her having a hissy fit was worth $100K!
My wife was no help. She offered to hide in the bushes with my camera. She figured if I were to walk up to Jen, plant a big wet one on her and then let her punch my lights out, half our house would be paid for. Needless to say, we didn’t go there either.
So where does that leave me? Certainly no closer to getting that new bit of gear, but I figure I’ll sleep more comfortably tonight.
As to the Barnier family… I’m really sorry to hear about Leigh’s passing. By all accounts he sounds like a fantastic guy. I pray you too will get some sleep in the nights to come.

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15 years ago

Fair ’nuff. And I did consider ‘checking it out’ and seeing if a photo could happen, but figured the PE would be expecting images and it was better to say no upfront that it was to say yes and change my mind in the field because it didn’t feel right.
Still, you bring up a good point about the news / public education aspect of this coverage furthering avalanche awareness, importance of family and faith. Who knows, I may even say yes the next time.

15 years ago

yes was an unfortunate accident, but if you talk to the parents I doubt they want it happening to anyone else’s kids as well… with that in mind they are more willing to talk to you as a reporter (photojournalist) not to mention there may be more to this story, and the photo you end up taking an award winning shot… if the family is unapproachable then leave it for the paparazzi and their long lenses



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