amnesia through photography
Saturday night Nate and I saw The Duo and Critters Buggin at the Paradise (Nate's pictures. I have some crappy ones to scan). It's actually hard to remember what the show sounded like (except that I was able to download the recording from etree). Without fail, whenever I have a camera in front of my face, I'm almost guaranteed not to remember what I'm seeing through the lens or hearing from the speakers against my ear. It's kind of disappointing -- I try to record what I see on film but fail to transfer the experience to my brain. And it's not just concerts, it's any event.
My camera is a pacifier. When I'm at a picture-worthy event without a camera, I feel antsy and incomplete. A camera around my neck gives me purpose, a mission beyond idle spectating. Some people take a friend to the movies; I take a camera.
Maybe the weirdest part is that I pass up far too many shots even though I'm seemingly prepared. Why do I bother carrying 20lbs of stuff around if I hardly use it? I often drive around at night looking for opportunities but rarely find them. (hmm, maybe I should walk rather than drive)
I think what I'm writing sounds disjointed because I'm not sure how to explain what I feel. Sometimes I think my only function, my natural state is to record what I see (hopefully in order to make some difference). But most of the time I think I'm an unimaginative hack with no original ideas. Can passion compensate for creativity? I doubt it.
A book I just bought, Truth Needs No Ally has a chapter of questions one should ask oneself before pursuing photojournalism. Personally, I find a lot of encouragement when the author "warns" that the job is low paying, hard work, and time consuming. When he advises newbies to be prepared to have no life, no time for relationships, I think, "Where do I start?!" The way I see it, the fact that most reasonable people aren't going to want to invest (or risk) their lives for such a thankless career must greatly reduce the pool of job applicants. I could be wrong though.
I hope that when I finally make some kind of decent portfolio instead of a mish-mash of artsy fartsy crap dedication will take me the rest of the way. And I hope that comes sooner rather than later. Every month, every year that I'm not doing something meaningful is time thrown away. Especially recently, I feel like I'm getting old with nothing to show for it -- without positively affecting anyone's life. The world is full of mediocre, meandering 20-somethings. I don't want to join them.