Army of one

  • Aperture: f/10
  • Focal Length: 18mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Shutter: 1/500 sec
  • Camera: NIKON D1H

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

This is part of a photo shoot I completed earlier today for the June issue of Army Times magazine. The shoot went well. I am pleased with the images.

And now I am a girl in need of a project again.

For the first time in weeks, I find myself with nothing to do tomorrow. Actually, that’s not true. I have a ton of Photoshop work to catch up on, archiving to complete, invoices to file, and a myriad of other sundry little details with which I might occupy my time. Truth be told, I have been burning the candle at both ends for quite a while and could use a day off. I suspect I won’t take it though.

If I could have anything I wanted tonight, I think I might just like a nice long bath. Maybe just sink beneath the warm waters and close my eyes until the hum in my head disappears, until the world falls away.

This is the flipside, at least for me, to life as a photojournalist — I live off adrenaline for days and days and days, never thinking about anything but the images, always the images. And then suddenly I hit the wall. The work is done. The images are filed. The invoices are mailed. The sun has set. My muscles ache but my mind is racing, still trying to feed off the adrenaline rush that is no longer needed but continues to course through my body. I am keyed up, edgy, frustrated. Dry tinder looking for a spark.
More than anything, I long to step out of a hot shower into an old, well-worn pair of flannel pajamas, curl up in bed with something frivolous — a paperback, a glitzy magazine, or maybe just my PowerBook and some guilty-pleasure-no-thought-required DVD. I want someone to bring me soup and Sprite with a straw, hold me, love me, talk me down.

I wonder sometimes if it is like this for other photojournalists. I am sure the combat photographers must experience this, but what about the every day shooters? Do they find it hard to sit still, to focus, to re-enter everyday life after an intense period of shooting? Do they find it hard to give their body the rest that it needs, give their mind the break that it craves? Do they climb the walls in frustration once there is no outlet for the excess energy?

I lie in bed and stare at the ceiling. Sleep will not come. I already know this. Like a hamster on a wheel, I chase random thoughts in circles. Every once in a while I hit one I’d just as soon not think about. I try to run from those. Random images jar me from my sleep, scurrying for the sanctity of my computer, where I type and type until it goes away. Through it all I try to remind myself that tomorrow is indeed another day, and the world won’t stop if I close my eyes for just a little while. Sometimes it works; sometimes it doesn’t.

Music of the day: Hit the Switch by Bright Eyes (lyrics)

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