Cameramen and women are the silent, hard working people who make modern journalism happen. No matter who they work for, their job is to get a good clear shot of the news and news-makers. Rarely do they receive the acknowledgement they deserve, but without their hard work, things like RT and even CNN (depending on one’s preference/intellectual curiosity) wouldn’t be on-air.
Rarely do such people make the news and many who are interested in journalism but are camera or microphone shy, decide to sit behind the camera and sound mixers for that very reason.
But one Russian photographer has had enough. A professional photogpher for TASS, a man called Aleksandr Shcherbak, has spoken about the fake news reports from western mainstream media, reports that are alleging he somehow had a unique privilege in photographing the meeting between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US President Donald Trump. The reports have said that ‘Russin journalists have been let in to the meeting’ while American one’s had not been.
The truth is that Aleksandr Shcherbak was one of two photographers present, the other was an American who worked in Washington. No other reporters were allowed as it was a private meeting. Furthermore, Shcherbak confirmed that the photos he took, were not taken during the meeting itself but at an arranged ‘handshake session’ which took place prior to the actual private meeting. The entire photo-shoot lasted a matter of minutes, after that Shcherbak left.
Shcherbak released the following statement on his Facebook page,
“I would like to address the US media. Honestly, this is nonsense to me. I am an individual who is not in the public eye and I’ve never commented on my work before but this hysteria around my photoshoot at the White House has forced me to write this post.
I’ve worked for the minister’s press pool since 2015 and I am often invited to cover trips and meetings of Foreign Minister Lavrov together with my colleagues.
I covered almost all the meetings that took place in the US, France, Germany, Switzerland and many other countries. Those were open and closed meetings, summits and forums, and many other events. The lists of journalists who cover trips are always submitted beforehand. And everyone knows who works where, who represents whom, and so on. Under the terms of the collaborative work between the Russian Foreign Ministry and TASS news agency I provide some of my photo materials for free publications on the Foreign Ministry’s official page and to other sources. Some photographs are distributed by TASS as with any other news agency.
There was nothing unusual about the photoshoot with Trump and Lavrov. Everything was typical. After the meeting with Tillerson I was taken by a US representative to the White House. I was scanned, patted down, and then sniffed by canines. Then I was waiting for the arrival of our delegation in a room in the White House. I was introduced to a female photographer who works there and was told to stay by her side as she knows all the protocol details. I took only two cameras to the photoshoot, I left all my stuff, including my cellphone, in another room as I was told to do.
The photoshoot was usual, with the delegations exchanging handshakes, a verbal exchange, and then the meeting began. We worked for just a minute and that’s all. I left the Oval Office and returned to the room where I was staying. When the meeting was over, we went to the Russian embassy for a news conference. And then we took off. I am urging US journalists not to lose their professional dignity and not to pin the blame on other people for their failure in organising the photoshoot and the failure to provide access to their media. I have worked as a professional photo correspondent for many years and I am facing such absurd and ludicrous charges for the first time”.
Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that the US mainsteam media had sunk to a new low in pestering Shcherbak.
Instead of trying to prohibit Mr. Shcherbak from doing his job, maybe the western mainstream media cloud start doing their’s. Telling something resembling the truth wouldn’t be a bad place to start.