As I sat on my shrink’s sofa today, it occurred to me that one of the most reliable therapies for all that ails me, mentally, anyway, has been (and continues to be) photography. I love taking pictures and seeing them published.
I loved it when I worked for the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, and later for the San Francisco Examiner. I loved it when I worked as a stringer, I loved it when I worked for Picture Group and, later, Saba. I was ecstatic when Time or Newsweek, Rolling Stone or Vanity Fair or the New York Times published my work, no matter how small or deeply buried.
Naturally, current circumstances have changed how I practice the craft. Photojournalism was my old, unparalyzed self: nowadays I necessarily take a different approach. Knowing that gimp moi will be relatively static, I try harder than once I did to previsualize an interesting image, and then calculate how much time it will take to get myself in position, leaving squish room for adjustments. Hemiparesis notwithstanding, I still shoot assignments.
Once upon a time, it was just a matter of showing up, frequently at the last possible moment, and then throwing myself into the fray. I could rely on an agile body to get camera and lens to some approximation of the right place at the right moment, and things worked out as often as not. Even when I thought things through beforehand, surprises happened, and I had to scramble.
Nowadays ‘scramble’ means ‘move very, very slowly.’ I miss a hundred shots for every one I manage to snap. But, oddly, surprises still happen. Call them slow surprises – things I would have missed once upon a time because I’d already left the venue. Nowadays, they just fall into my lap. Voila the photo above… taken when friend David and I got a late start on a walk in Ameugny…