The staple of the second page of a first-rate newspapaer…and the first page of a second-rate newspaper…has always been the Grip and Grin. That’s the posed photograph of a local candidate/store owner/ Principal/ music hall entertainer shaking hands with someone as something is being handed over.
The someone can be a nobody, and the something can be anything – a large fake cheque, a plastic trophy, a German stick grenade…anything. The point of the photo is not to see the recipient or the donation – it is to see the face of the donor. They organise the press coverage and photo and it is done for their benefit entirely.
To be fair, the best of them are very good at it, and the working press appreciate their skill. Professionalism is always good to see – it is efficient and produces a salable product with the minimal fuss. They will automatically find the best place to pose in and position themselves and whoever they are gripping in the right spot for a fast picture. In the old days of the press camera with the Press 25 bulbs in the Graflex holders the experienced grippers would prop right at 10 feet and you could have your camera rail set to that and locked – you didn’t even have to use the rangefinder to focus. They’d get the grippee to turn at the right time and smile as broadly as they could and you could pop one bulb.
The G&G shot is always sure of a good reception from two people – the gripper and the grippee. The first one will make sure that there are no incriminating marks on the photo before it goes to press and thereafter will only mark it down to file away in the publicity folder. The second will buy 5 copies of the paper – or in the case of the suburban real estate vehicle, beg for more from friends and keep it as a memento in the family keepsake box.
I know – I was once gripped. I grinned.
*Bull Creek’s daily no-paper news