Like any serious photographer, I have my moments of discontent. What I mean is that the photos I’m making are ok for me to continue but not the celebrated ones we hope will shine. I wrote about this a few post back. Flashback to around 1973.
I’m sitting on the bank of a creek and fishing with Bill, my father in law and Bob his brother and my 2 brother in laws Dan & Billy. I have all the good stuff. Fenwick ultra lite rod, Penn reel and all the lures and things to make Opening Day of Trout Fishing a great experience. I had my Leica M4 and 35mm Cron in my vest pocket. I will not talk about the financial investment in this undertaking. We are fishing our own styles and I caught a few small ones and put them back in the water. I said to Bob, what the hecks going on? All these people fishing and not many fish being caught. Bob was laid back against a tree stump like it was an expensive leather chair.
Donald, he said, 90% of the fish are caught by 10% of the fisherman. 10% of the fish are caught by 90% of the fisherman. I almost stopped breathing. I had an epihany, and it proved Bob right. Oh my I thought. Why am I doing this? Bob said, Donald….I come out here to relax. I love the fresh air, the water all the nuts like you trying to catch fish. I said your fishing. He reeled his line in and there was just a sinker, no hook, no bait. He’s calling me nuts right.
Bob said. look, it’s very relaxing right now. No kids, no wife, no work just you bugging me, he smiled. I asked him, why no hook or anything? Donald, if I have a hook, then I need bait. Then the hook gets snagged on something so I need to start over. What happens if I catch a fish? I gotta deal with that and …it’s good fishing but it damn sure ain’t relaxing.
Making photos for me is like fishing. I love to catch the big fish but I won’t rule out the ones that are not keepers. I LIVE photography. I love every single aspect of it. If I was to just go for those great shots, what about the energy that goes into that. I mean if you picked up your camera and every time made your masterpiece, well, they wouldn’t be. The inverse square law dictates that in order to survive as a photographer, you need to take the good with the bad and love all equallly.
The ones you feel are not keepers, if you don’t love them you will not learn from them and probably not find the great shots you are capable of. Not every shot is a benchmarm, nor do they need to be. I go out on the streets and I am relaxed. I’m breathing, listening, seeing and processing in my heart abd mind photos I seek to find. You can do things the way you want but trust me, if you slack off because your not getting the work you rhink you want or need, you better open your eye, heart and mind cause your making a mistake.
I’m not saying to get complacent, just saying there’s a lot of fish in the waters. For me, I;m very relaxed and content just being alive with my camera.