Some photographer somewhere said something about photography not being reality. I have always thought he was on the money with that. My work, by it’s very nature is not reality. It was never meant to be. Sure, it may appear to be sometimes, but the images are cleaned up, touched up, doctored. Not real.
This is me. This is reality. I have an artist’s soul, and the voice of a crow. I’d love to sing, to play music, but I have none of it in me. Often, I feel like I have the visual voice of a crow as well. I used to write. A lot. Incessantly. I blogged. Not about photography, but about effective self defense. I gave that up when I picked up a camera again.
Strange, isn’t it? A photographer with an artist’s soul writing about self defense. There’s a reason for that. I was once a pretty decent fighter. Like most fighters, I learned the hard way, getting my ass beat. I never stopped fighting though, and I learned. Then, I gave up my knees to Uncle Sugar’s Yacht Club. I am now in constant pain, I can’t kick, and I damned sure can’t run fast, long, or far. About the only time I am not in pain is when my mind is somewhere else right-braining it away on photography. I can’t fight effectively anymore. So I carry a weapon. Everywhere. I do so because as a fighter, I’ve learned I will probably never see the attack coming. I don’t want to avoid people I don’t know, so I carry the means to preserve my life if need be. That’s reality.
Winter is very dark for me. As the days get shorter, my mood gets more morose. And my knees hurt like a bitch. I watch Zack’s film, Transform over and again, and I try to forge on. I get a lot of inspiration from my flickr friends. You may not realize it, but I do. Sometimes I think you are my truest friends. Tonight, I was devoid of inspiration, ready to hang up this 365 project again. Then I commented on Stacie’s image. I ended my comment with "It’s real." Yeah, that’s what I want to do tonight, that’s what I need, so this is real.
I hurt. I am on the tail end of a 72 hour call rotation that has whipped my ass. I have spent most of the weekend, it seems, at the hospital. Patching up people who refuse to take care of themselves, and they will be back again. I’ve listened to people claim to be medically disabled for miniscule ailiments while others lie comatose and bleeding in the next room. All the while wondering if I would meet the criteria for disability myself because I can hardly stand and my knees throb up and down my spine. My back hurts from trying to restrain people who are fighting against those who are trying to save their lives. A few days ago, I commented in depth on Viewminder’s photo about what we sometimes go through as practitioners. It is a small glimpse. Sometimes I think nobody but a nurse can understand what we go through as nurses. This weekend I have been cursed, hit, scratched, spit on, pissed on, shit on, had stomach contents sprayed across my face, had blood sprayed all over me, and I’ll go back for more tonight at 2:00 AM if needed. I’ll certainly be back for more at 6:00 AM. That’s my reality. Nobody really understands it until they experience it themselves.
Why do I do this? Why? Because I’ve also had tears on me. The comfort we provide as nurses erases the blood, the puke, the piss and the bruises. At least it does for the nurse. I also do this for my family. That’s reality. I do a damned nasty job that few want to do, so my family can stay fed. So we can stay warm in winter, cool in the summer, and not live under a bridge. That’s reality.
I started doing another 365 project this year with my daughter, for my daughter. I thought, against my better judgement, that it might work, that it would give us more time together. Several years ago I bought her a camera and taught her about photography to bring us together. Our joint 365 lasted a total of four days before she was off to other things and I was uninspired. Yet I have forged on with it, in case she wants to rejoin me. I don’t know if she will, but I’m taking daily pictures of myself no matter how uninspired I might be, in case she does. At the end of my last 365 project, I stated that I felt the thing was a pointless exercise. It was for me at least. Her involvement gave me reason to do it again. I’m a father, and I will not give up on her. No matter how much infectious blood soaks through my paper surgical cap and mixes with the sweat running down my back, no matter how much the gangrenous pus filled crap in my hands turns my stomach, and no matter how much my knees throb.That’s reality.
Tonight I was uninspired. Dead tired. Foul. Ready to throw in the towel. Then I went online to see my flickr friends. They say this isn’t reality. What the Hell do they know? Tonight you inspired me, kept me going when I was at my lowest. I got my tired ass up, put on my Chucks, tossed fresh scrubs in the Jeep in case my pager went off, and I drove to the studio to capture this image. I had pre-concieved it in my mind, and I recorded these words on my dictaphone on the way there and back. If you inspire me so, how can you not be reality? Know what? I’ll probably leave the typos in here too, because I have big-assed fingers and I only type with one of them. That’s reality.
Plus, my wife just came in, and I want to get to spend a bit of time with her this weekend. I miss her. That’s reality too. Photography isn’t reality. At most, it’s a picture of what used to be. Not what is. It can’t depict what is real, but perhaps it can make us recall a feeling that was. But this is my reality, this is me. No. This was my reality. This is me.
Strobist: AB1600 with 60X30 gridded softbox camera left. Triggered by Cybersync.
Tagged: , Chair of Pain , Reality , 365 , 365 Days , January 15, 2012 , 15/366 , Strobist