Full Body Tan
In the summer of 2004 I was invited to tape a story at Aurora Gardens in nearbyJacksonCounty. AuroraGardens is an beautiful, sprawling, and isolated campground that caters to “naturalists” –- people who enjoy outdoor nudity. If what you like is a “full body tan,”Aurora Gardens is the place for you.
You may find nude camping a startling concept. However, inviting a TV videographer to a nude campground is positively . That’s like inviting Daily Show reporters to the Republican National Convention.
After a preliminary “meet and greet” visit with the campground owners to go over the ground rules for taping, I returned at a later date to actually tape the story. I was greeted upon arrival by said owner sans pants (and shirt and tie). I was then introduced to all the rest of the campers, camera in tow.
In the course of the next hour I was free to tape whatever I liked with the agreement that whatever I used would be collected at the discretion of all involved and still appropriate for general TV viewing.
On that day I negotiated what may well be my crowning achievement as a professional videographer; taping twelve naked people playing a volleyball game and editing it together for air without showing any naughty bits. We’re not talking trap shooting here –- back to the camera and all the action high and away. There’s all that jumping, lunging, and bouncing. The action is coming at you from every angle.
I also taped a leisurely game of horseshoes, a fellow diligently weaving a basket, and an entire family of campers at their wooded site, including sit-down interview.
The people were welcoming, warm, stunningly relaxed about the professional grade video camera in their midst, and absolutely devoid of “farmer’s tans.”
On this assignment I was also presented with one of the thorniest ethical dilemmas of my professional career; to remain fully-clothed during the shoot, or to “blend in?” Of course, the truth is always laid bare to the camera. That’s the nature of good journalism.
When I returned to the station and edited it all together into a fascinating TV story, I was originally told that “the content was not appropriate for our viewing audience” and that it would not be used. However, Jerry Gallagher came to the rescue; he jumped at the opportunity to air the story on the nightly news, volleyball game and all. Point, Game, Match.
Posted under Artist? Scientist? Philosopher? Camera Guy?
This post was written by sbetchkal on October 14, 2011