Let's tell the world about the GTC!
In October 2009, your Guild Council chose to elect me as Life President of the Guild of Television Cameramen.
I am, of course, deeply honoured by this election and to become the Guild's first President since its inception. In 1969 we invited astronaut Neil Armstrong, the first man to use a video camera on the moon, to be our first President, but sadly he declined because he had too many invitations and couldn't adequately devote his time to them all.
I have always felt that our President should be a public figure, in order that the Guild, together with the role of the television cameraman, should hold a higher profile in the public consciousness.
Credit where credit is due
Credit where credit is due, is a philosophy I endorse. For so many years, everyone in UK video production, except the television cameraman, was given a credit. Today, both on the BBC and ITV, we are more likely to see some, but still not all, the television cameramen credited. This change is largely due to the persuasive powers, very many years ago, of the Guild's then Hon Secretary, the late Dave Rogers.
Just think back to all the programmes over the years that you have worked on, of which you are justifiably proud. The chances are that your name and role will not have been recorded for posterity – anywhere! If it was recorded, then it will probably have been 'squeezed' into illegibility in the end credits.
We seek no reflected glory for being credited with working on auspicious occasions, merely a simple acknowledgement of a job well done. And perhaps that is part of our problem. Maybe, because professional television cameramen feel that the viewing public should never be aware of their presence, this has had an effect on our collective psyche, and in general we are very poor self-publicists. There are, I am glad to say, a few exceptions to this rule.
Let's make our presence known
I hope that by the public at large becoming much more aware of our organisation and its members, we will become better appreciated. There is already great interest in our work – just look at the interest shown by the public in programmes like 'Big Cat Diary', 'Spring Watch', 'Autumn Watch', and 'Life', with their ten minute 'exposés' at the end of the programmes.
But it feels to me as if The Guild of Television Cameramen is a secret society. Not many people in the industry have ever heard of us, and certainly nobody outside our industry knows about us. I hope that with your help we can overcome the anonymity of our organisation.
I will be doing my utmost in the forthcoming year to raise public awareness of the aims and achievements of the men and women who make up The Guild of Television Cameramen, and in so doing, to ensure the professional status of the television cameraman.