Photographers In The Movies

I have this theory about photographers in the movies. It’s that there’s one major giveaway in motion pictures featuring photographers that the person playing that photographer actually has no idea how to take pictures. It’s pretty simple, but I think it’s 100% effective. The secret is in how they hold the camera. When the left hand, the one doing the manual focusing on an SLR’s lens, is positioned palm out, my suspension of disbelief is done for. This subtle hand position, as every photographer surely knows, means everything. With the palm out, the twisting motion required to focus a lens is done by a big twist of the wrist. It’s clunky and unsubtle. With the palm in, though, the thumb and forefinger can do all of the work with just a tiny flick of the fingers. Moreover, holding the camera the wrong way doesn’t enlist the focusing hand to help stabilize the camera at all. That is what every real photographer who hand-holds a camera uses their left hand for; it’s not just focusing the camera, it’s steadying it. The next time you’re watching a film in which one of the characters is a photographer, keep an eye out for this tell. If you have any other dead giveaways for spotting fake photographers on screen, please let us know in the comments below.

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