There is a sixth dimension, beyond which is known to man. A dimension as vast as your cable channel line-up and as timeless as a county commissioner’s meeting. It is a middle ground between key light and shadow, between body odor and stank, and it lies between the pit of a reporter’s ego and the summit of his hairdo. This is a dimension of assclownery. It is an area which we call The Photog’s Lounge.
Faced with the dilemma of where to stable the station’s workhorses, management carved out an enclave between the dumpster and the transmitter room. As glamorous as it sounds, The Photog’s Lounge aint a place for the weak of stomach. Part locker room, part flophouse, the cave that news managers give lenslingers is usually the last place corporate bigwigs or touring Boy Scouts ever venture. It’s not that the place doesn’t have it’s own charm, it’s that photographers live there.
Stuffing bleeds from mismatched dorm furniture. The screen on the 19-inch television screen in the corner never seems to hold the right color. Soda cans, dip bottles, and vintage fast food wrappers clutter every flat surface. And let’s not forget the tarnished statuettes coated with the ashes of burned out dreams.
Broken widgets, stripped wire casings, and dead double-A’s litter every corner. Long-forgotten scripts peek from every nook and cranny. An antique TK-76 serves a door stop, and the lens that intern tried to dismantle in a rainstorm tops the trophy case of tales from the street.
Add to that the olfactory joy of house fires, sewer plants, and that homeless dude who emptied his change cup when he saw how we dressed. I’m telling ya, the place oozes ambiance . . . and several body fluids. But be it ever so humble, there’s no place like hovel.
A highly educated friend of mine with letters after her name recently penned a scholarly screed on newsrooms. With great affection, she called photogs the children of the newsroom. The Lounge is our playroom. It’s a place where photogs unwind, rag on each other, and share the latest exploits of the Ken doll on the set while hiding from The Adult in the Room. It’s loud, brash, and smelly. And if you’ve ever back peddled the courthouse steps, stared down a serial killer, waxed poetic over colored gels, or attended a black tie affair dressed like a sixth grader on a field trip, then there’s room for you.
Just don’t sit behind the desk. That belongs to the chief, and you don’t want to know how he marks his territory.