- Aperture: f/4.5
- Focal Length: 18mm
- ISO: 640
- Shutter: 1/250 sec
- Camera: NIKON D1H
Being a photojournalist is hard sometimes.
Sometimes I wonder if I still have it in me. I look back over my portfolio and I see nice moments, but I go out and shoot garbage. I don’t understand it. I wish I did.
I can shoot for the site all day long. Sometimes I even bring back stuff I’m proud of. Tell me to bring back a killer shot for the paper and I freeze. Shoot out of focus. Miss the moment. Muff the exposure.
There was a time when I thought I was pretty good at what I did. I rarely feel that way anymore, and I don’t know why.
I had two assignments today, and neither one resulted in stellar images.
This photograph is from the second assignment, a feature photo at a local rodeo. This was an out-take, a shot that wasn’t submitted to the paper. I liked the weird angle and the intense mood of the animals, but editors want to see faces, verbs, people doing things. I gave them that. It wasn’t all that exciting — a little girl petting a horse. Yippee-yay. Nothing I would post here.
I wandered around for an hour. I shot until both batteries on my D1H were dead, which was way too soon because they are really old and no longer charge well. I watched faces and I waited for moments and I looked for graphical elements, but I came back with nothing better than page filler.
And through it all there was this voice in my head saying, “There’s a reason you’re not a staff photographer, you know,” which was not particularly helpful. I try to drown that voice out. I shoot and I shoot and I shoot and I study other photographers’ work and I analyze my own, and then I walk out the door and shoot the same crap in the same way every day.
And so I sit here at 3 a.m., drinking lukewarm Lambrusco and poring over the day’s take, entertaining that inner critic that I hate so much but know so well.
I don’t understand how something I love can be such a struggle.
Somewhere in these pixels must lie the answer, but I can’t see it. My life, like my images, is out of focus, over-exposed, off-kilter. And I don’t seem to know how to fix that.
Music: Disintegration by The Cure (lyrics)