It’s been five weeks since I was let go from my position as photo editor at The Examiner. In the thirty-five days since being called into the publisher’s office for ‘The Talk,’ I’ve shot exactly one assignment. I haven’t been sitting idle, this website being one example, the dozens of e-mails I’ve sent to prospective employers and clients (and the hours spent on a computer finding and researching them) them being the other but its a far cry from the 3-5 assignments I was shooting for the paper.
I found myself having not shot anything in weeks, my cameras simply sitting on the floor of my apartment. This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, a few years of 60-70 hour work weeks had left me feeling perpetually burned out and I needed to decompress. The relentless pace I’d been running at combined with the need to make frames that fulfilled my editors expectations had put a serious crimp in my creativity. I needed to get away from it for a bit.
Monday afternoon I went out to take advantage the warm, clear weather with a walk down the Little Blue Trace here in Independence. I grabbed my Mk II as almost an afterthought. I didn’t really have any photos in mind, I just felt the need to make some frames. No story to illustrate, no creative exercise in mind, the simple desire to do photography for photography’s sake, something I haven’t done in years.
As I set out down the trail I was disappointed to notice that most of the trees had lost what color that they had, if they’d ever had any at all. There were a few notable exceptions though and I went about making some frames with my 16-35, the only lens I’d brought along. I found myself getting close shooting up, using the clear blue sky as a backdrop as I often do after years of having ‘Background, background, background,’ drilled into my head in school and critiques. About halfway through my walk I began to do it purposefully. It seemed appropriate for where I’m at now, in life as well as my career.
Its hard to stay positive as a photojournalist these days even when you have a full-time gig. So I set about making a few visual reminders that there are, in fact, blue skies. There may be storm clouds on the horizon but they will pass, and there will be blue skies again.
There’s nothing really great about the frames I mad, Hell there’s nothing even mediocre about them. It just felt good to get out and make some frames simply because I could.