A few years ago, I wrote a list of all the reasons that I was not out taking photographs. Here are fifty-five of them, pretty much intact. Few things have changed, though I did finally graduate and purchase a digital camera. Now technological issues hinder me more than the cost of film, and–since my father stopped driving–I worry about his health instead.
It is terribly disappointing to discover that I still sabotage myself in exactly the same ways. Self-awareness may be the first step, but it’s obviously not the only step necessary to get out of my own way and MAKE STUFF.
I dedicate this list to Larry Sultan, a teacher of such power, insight, and humor that I will be forever grateful for that one short semester I sat in his class.
Roughly Half of the Reasons Why I Am Not Out Shooting Fabulous Photographs Right Now
- I was up last night worrying about the shoot.
- The light is not right.
- I cannot figure out the spot meter.
- The camera is wobbly on the tripod.
- I do not have a light tight place to load sheet film.
- I do not know what to take a picture of.
- I suspect that I am not really a photographer.
- I need a snack.
- If I don’t try too hard, then I have an excuse later if nothing comes out well.
- I think I might be getting sick.
- I am panicked about finances.
- I need to pay the bills.
- I was up last night because the cat was making a ruckus.
- My professional life is in the toilet.
- I still haven’t finished unpacking the boxes from my move four years ago.
- I am perplexed that Alan Ernst has not responded to my emails.
- I am worried about my father’s driving.
- I can’t find my checkbook.
- The zone system does not speak to me.
- I need a few things from the store.
- I should really call my mother.
- No matter what I think of, someone has done it well already.
- I am not sure what to do about the gophers.
- I just thought of a great status update that I don’t want to waste.
- I need to read a little theory to situate myself.
- I should probably head out early in case traffic is bad on the bridge.
- I haven’t finished my homework.
- I need to pick a celebrity doppelganger for my facebook profile.
- I missed the light for today.
- When was my last dental appointment?
- I feel a little queasy.
- I haven’t finished my thank you notes.
- It’s hard to think straight when the place is a mess.
- I am afraid of disappointing myself.
- I am afraid of disappointing Larry.
- I am too wound up to concentrate.
- I accidentally unwound too much.
- I should really make travel arrangements for the holidays.
- I think I forgot my brother’s birthday.
- I feel guilty spending so much money on film.
- And developing.
- And paper.
- Maybe I should do a little research on digital cameras.
- Was that my phone?
- I feel guilty spending time at art school while my kids are off growing up somewhere else.
- A little yoga would really clear my head.
- I’m almost out of cat litter.
- My pants are too snug to be comfortable.
- I need to update my resume.
- I can’t concentrate with the kids running amok.
- Now that they are in bed, I am too tired.
- I need to reorganize my negatives.
- I am worried that my parents are going to die.
- I can’t find all of the equipment I need when I need it.
- I probably don’t have enough time now to really get a good start.
4 thoughts on “Why I am not out Shooting Fabulous Photographs”
A story after my own heart. I have so many good intentions of getting projects going, but just as many excuses why I shouldn’t start. All of them are self-sabotaging and the product of fear. Totally silly. In any event, I could identify with the list of “reasons not to…” and I’m glad I’m not alone.
Sorry to hear that you can relate…but I think there’s a great many of us. Let me know if you think of a good way to make yourself start!
I think I agree with most of those “reasons”.
Sometimes to break out of it, I’ll go for a walk and, even if I am actually going somewhere, I’ll take my camera with me. Since it’s big and fragile and somewhat of a hassle to carry along, I feel guilty NOT taking any pictures and just having to carry it. That’s when I start shooting in hope that I will get a few shots that will have made my walk/errand worthwhile.
Hope that helps!
I love that plan. It IS a pain to lug around, so I’d feel ridiculous if I dragged it all over without shooting a thing. I’ll try it!