Candid cameraman


Hi, kids, it’s your news photographer pal, Marshall Thompson. Here’s a free news-gathering and distribution lesson for anyone without journalism training or grasp of the news process like my friend, Realtor Councilman Andy Stern. A colleague of mine is a local news photographer. He photographs all news about the city, good or bad, in an unbiased fashion, brings back the photos to the paper and they print it. I do exactly the same thing. The lesson? News photographers do not get involved in the story or spout their positions on it. They are neutral, just a big eyeball recording the events to the best of their ability. Like a reporter!

Here are two true-life examples from my career that illustrate the relationship between a story you are covering and advocacy. I’m shooting a horrible homicide scene, blood everywhere, poor young gangbanger dead. So, after shooting this did I become a gangbanger or killer or advocate that lifestyle? No. Here’s another. I’m shooting a story about CAIR, the Muslim affairs council. Some of their points of view are objectionable. Did I then become an advocate for fundamentalism? No. See how this “news business” works? Good! You get a gold star.

This is the work that I have been doing since 1980 when I was the only American news photographer in the Soviet Union covering the Moscow Olympics. Other news gigs have taken me to Israel, Italy, France, Russia, Fiji, Australia, Mexico and Canada. I have also taught seminars on visual news gathering at Pepperdine, UCLA and the L.A. County Human Relations Commission among many other venues.

Thus, it is impossible for any weasel to “out” me because whatever news work I do, I do in broad daylight, with pride and expertise. For more information on what I do, please visit my not very good website

Marshall Thompson