Why I am not out Shooting Fabulous Photographs

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

  1. I was up last night worrying about the shoot.
  2. The light is not right.
  3. I cannot figure out the spot meter.
  4. The camera is wobbly on the tripod.
  5. I do not have a light tight place to load sheet film.
  6. I do not know what to take a picture of.
  7. I suspect that I am not really a photographer.
  8. I need a snack.
  9. If I don’t try too hard, then I have an excuse later if nothing comes out well.
  10. I think I might be getting sick.
  11. I am panicked about finances.
  12. I need to pay the bills.
  13. I was up last night because the cat was making a ruckus.
  14. My professional life is in the toilet.
  15. I still haven’t finished unpacking the boxes from my move four years ago.
  16. I am perplexed that Alan Ernst has not responded to my emails.
  17. I am worried about my father’s driving.
  18. I can’t find my checkbook.
  19. The zone system does not speak to me.
  20. I need a few things from the store.
  21. I should really call my mother.
  22. No matter what I think of, someone has done it well already.
  23. I am not sure what to do about the gophers.
  24. I just thought of a great status update that I don’t want to waste.
  25. I need to read a little theory to situate myself.
  26. I should probably head out early in case traffic is bad on the bridge.
  27. I haven’t finished my homework.
  28. I need to pick a celebrity doppelganger for my facebook profile.
  29. I missed the light for today.
  30. When was my last dental appointment?
  31. I feel a little queasy.
  32. I haven’t finished my thank you notes.
  33. It’s hard to think straight when the place is a mess.
  34. I am afraid of disappointing myself.
  35. I am afraid of disappointing Larry.
  36. I am too wound up to concentrate.
  37. I accidentally unwound too much.
  38. I should really make travel arrangements for the holidays.
  39. I think I forgot my brother’s birthday.
  40. I feel guilty spending so much money on film.
  41. And developing.
  42. And paper.
  43. Maybe I should do a little research on digital cameras.
  44. Was that my phone?
  45. I feel guilty spending time at art school while my kids are off growing up somewhere else.
  46. A little yoga would really clear my head.
  47. I’m almost out of cat litter.
  48. My pants are too snug to be comfortable.
  49. I need to update my resume.
  50. I can’t concentrate with the kids running amok.
  51. Now that they are in bed, I am too tired.
  52. I need to reorganize my negatives.
  53. I am worried that my parents are going to die.
  54. I can’t find all of the equipment I need when I need it.
  55. I probably don’t have enough time now to really get a good start.
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Published by

Beret Olsen

Writer, photographer, teacher, and part-time insomniac.

4 thoughts on “Why I am not out Shooting Fabulous Photographs”

  1. 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.

    Like

  2. 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!

    Like

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