The advantage of carrying a camera
Updated: Mar 26, 2020
Recently, I decided to preserve Dad's slide collection and what a revelation it has proved to be. Not only did I discover photos that documented just about every element of our family from the 70s to the 80s...I also learned a lot about how Dad pretty much always seemed to have a camera at hand.
I guess one of the reasons that I took a real interest in photography and then ended up making cameras a big part of my story-telling career, was due to Dad. From as long as I remember, there was always a lens lurking somewhere nearby. In fact, I have repurposed those same lenses as part of my own camera kit for the lovely 'vintage' look that they give.
While the camera was predominantly used to document daily life, Dad also discovered that having a camera bag slung over his shoulder was great at securing behind the scenes access. Mixed amongst photos taken from Dad's boat trip from the UK to New Zealand, I discovered a few scenes from New Zealand motor racing history. As the legendary Scottish driver Jackie Stewart is holding the cup, I worked out that these shots were taken at the 1967 New Zealand Grand Prix held at Pukekohe. I'm pretty sure that the other driver pictured here is Jack Brabham, but if anyone reading this knows otherwise, I'd stand to be corrected.
Dad's memory of the event is pretty hazy now, but I do remember him telling me that before the Grand Prix he was just hanging around the entrance to the pit area, when he took a chance and simply walked in. Without any press accreditation, he was never challenged by any officials, as having a camera seemed a good enough passport for specialist access.
I too have also experienced the benefits from toting cameras. In the early days of my filming career, I was often waved through barricades, ushered into roped off areas and escorted through crowds. This preferential treatment has sadly subsided as people have generally become a lot more suspect about media presence...but I am still amazed at how many places I am able to enter based purely on carrying a decent sized camera with a tripod balanced on my shoulder.