No blog without a picture. That's been my self-imposed policy since I started this little log, and is the reason that I have been absent from it for so long. I just haven't made the pictures and it's driving me nuts!
Every year about this time, every photojournalist that I know go through their "year in pictures" as a way to either congratulate themselves for jobs well done, or to remind themselves that they need to work harder. I'm embarrassed that for the first time since I entered this profession, I fall firmly into that latter category. It's not that I haven't had the ideas. I've got notebooks and post-it's filled with the scribblings of story ideas that I should be working on. And it's not that I haven't been filling my time working. I've been building business contacts, making cold calls, developing web pages and taking online tutorials on web design, video production, and business practices. I've been going to networking meetings, handing out business cards and guest speaking to any group that will listen. I am ever hopeful that all those I've met, and all that I've learned in the past year will pay off in the long term. BUT, I haven't been making pictures and telling stories.
Every writer I've ever traveled with knows that if I haven't made a good story-telling picture for a few days, I'm not my usual happy-go-lucky self. I get down right bitter and angry. Now that months are going by between them, you can imagine what my poor loving wife is going through. And, if some of you are wondering why I fell off the map, it's because I can't face that most important of all questions that we PJs are constantly faced with: "What have you done lately?"
I've talked myself out of doing what I should be doing with a variety of excuses ranging from:
"I've got to concentrate on the commercial side of my business" to "I don't have an audience/outlet for it" to "I can't afford it and when I have enough money to finance the stories, I'll do them."
But the truth is, I can't afford NOT to do them because I am a photojournalist, a story teller. It's not just something I do for a living, it's something I HAVE to do.
For the past year, I feel like I've been feeling my way through a heavy fog, but it's time to push through it. I'm getting back to shooting and telling stories. They won't all be tear jerking or world changing, and I honestly don't know who will see them or if anyone will be willing to pay for them. But, I know they are out there waiting for me and I know I have a lot of catching up to do.
We're heading home to see the family on Dec. 26th and on Jan. 20th, I'm off to spend a few days with an indian tribe in the Panama rain forest. Thanks to my wife for her continued encouragement and seeing me through the fog. Happy holidays to all.