For someone who has always had trouble sticking with anything for a long time, it is a wonder that I am still as fascinated with the photographic art I discovered at 15. As I get ready to photograph an award party for my father in a day, I start preparing things in my head. I have already learned that there will be large windows in the penthouse where it is taking place, and have figured that for at least half the time I’m there we’ll have good daylight.
I’ll bring a flash just in case.
And I try to imagine what it will be like. I’ll need to dig up a suit, or at least buy some decent clothes since I’ve put on weight since the last shindig and I’m not sure my pants will fit, not comfortably anyway.
I think about what lenses I’ll bring, and even tonight, as I was walking over to the pizza place, I was finding things that interested me. It’s just one of those fields that has been perfect for someone with a restless sort of mind. I’ve been lucky enough to be around long enough to go from film to digital and all the learning that involved; both with cameras and printers. And besides the technical changes, although in my heart I feel that I’m interested in the same group of subjects as when I was 15 – I also feel that the more I learn, the deeper the well (which might be mixing metaphors) but you know what I mean.
Photography is the only thing that hasn’t eventually bored me.
I was asked during the film interview whether there was competition among street photographers. I don’t remember exactly what I said, but what I should have said is that for me there is competition, but it’s with yourself. In your own head, your as good as your last good image. So you try and top yourself. If you go through a long streak with mediocre results, that’s okay too because it’s causes you to reflect on what you’re doing and why.
That sense, that you are on a journey where the horizon is constantly receding – knowing that no matter how fast you walk – you won’t really get any closer to the end of the trail, that must have something to do with it. No matter what complaints I’ve made here – and I have had my ups and downs for sure – and will have them again – it doesn’t matter because when you put the camera back in my hand and send me out, there is always that possibility that you’ll come back with a great shot, and by that I mean a shot that goes beyond the immediate circumstances of what in this case is formal party to honor my father for work he did in health care.
So tomorrow (or my sister will murder me) I’ll make sure I’ve got a good set of store bought clothes, and make sure the batteries (both physical and mental) are charged, and see what I can do on the tenth. The point though – is worth repeating: it’s just one of those lucky things for me that we found each other, because it has kept me relatively sane, content, and in a state of wonderment for almost forty years. That’s saying something.