Charles Ommanney is an undeniably talented Newsweek photographer who chronicled President Bush’s time in the White House, and followed Barack Obama on the campaign trail. CLICK HERE to see some prime examples of his work.
Then, about two years ago he married an old flame, Cat Ommanney, and soon after agreed to be filmed with her for the DC version of a reality show known for lowbrow entertainment that includes activities like table-flipping, executive-producer flipping, obscene spending, petty arguments, and extravagant posturing (to name a few).
He’s managed to keep a low profile on the show, and so far the biggest gaff the usually notoriously private photojournalist made was a snide remark about traveling through the south. His ex-wife, however, has used up a great deal of her screen time trying to impress her new “friends” with Charles’ (admittedly pretty cool) occupation to the point of desperation and absurdity.
Now he’s divorced, embarrassed, and skulking away to Miami. But he’s not completely hiding out, he recently peaked his head out of his turtle shell to tell the New York Times how much he regrets his decision to do the show. In fact, it’s one of the few things he’s ever regretted in his life. This has been a humdinger for him.
What’s strange about Charles’ presence on this show is that this type of reality television is best suited for people who are looking to get somewhere using this garish opportunity, not people who are already somewhere pretty solid in their career. In fact, instead of gaining great promotion and advertising (like Real Housewife of New York husband Bobby Zarin of Zarin Fabrics), Charles’ career might have been damaged by the fact that the show simply makes him recognizable. He can no longer “blend into the woodwork” to create an iconic shot.
So, why did he do it?
“In a way, I was naïve and foolish to sign off on doing this. But, at the end of the day, it was innocent. I wanted happiness for someone I was in love with. I put all my reservations aside and said: ‘Go for it. Do it if it makes you happy.’ Then I regretted it. I lost touch with everyone, and mix that with my marriage falling apart and the show taking over, it was very sad.”