Problems, Problems, Problems, or…An Ode to Bitching


Something I’ve discovered over the last few years is that I love to bitch about things. Most of the time the things I bitch about bother me, but not all that much. I just find joy in the art of bitching. It’s fun.

Now, luckily for me, my job gives me ample opportunity to bitch in that something always seems to be either getting messed up or just randomly falling apart. I bitch about these things, pretty much every time. But I’ve also discovered that I like it when it all falls apart.

It’s just no fun when things are working well. There’s no challenge. I thrive on the challenge. Put me in a situation where I have every reason to fail, and usually I’ll do pretty well, come out with some decent to good images, and have fun doing it. Put me in a situation where everything is alright, or working for me, and I’ll do fine, I’ll make some good images, but probably not as nice, or at least not to me, and I often won’t have as much fun. I love the thought of overwhelming failure, and the ability to succeed in those situations.

Really, who doesn’t like a challenge? It brings out the best in all of us, or at least in me. I have to get more creative in my problem solving. I have to look beyond what I’ve done and I know I’m capable of and find more and go further. If people only grow by pushing their limits and expanding their horizons, aren’t the situations I should fail the perfect opportunity to grow?

I really rather wonder how poets, musicians and painters do it, how they grow. They often don’t have loads of problems bearing down on them. They don’t have to worry about a word not showing up to the party. I guess they might have writers block, and maybe that’s the same as the candidate not showing up. I don’t know. I just think it helps when artists have obstacles to overcome. It pushes them to find that extra something in themselves to succeed. I’m sure it also builds confidence in themselves as well.

One of personal, favorite, sell imposed limits, and I work so much better when I have this limit than when I don’t, is using prime lenses. For the non-photographers out there, that means using lenses that don’t have a zoom capability. When I have a zoom lens I can just stand there and select what I want in the frame and be done. With prime lenses I have to figure out how to get the lens to work regardless of the fact that it’s just a little to wide, or a little to tight for what I would like. I look at this problem, and compose around it, but I also have to spend time examining the image, thinking about the image, and then finding some way to cope with the limits. Often this leads to making a better image. If for no other reason than I’ve spent more time thinking about the image and thinking about what else I can get rid of in the image if the lens is to tight, or what else I can add if it’s too loose.

Plus there is something that is good for the ego and self-image (I have done the entry on “Don’t feed the Ego” yet?) in success in the face of obstacles. Sometimes it’s nice to show off and just show, “I’m a bad ass, I’m so good, you can’t stop me! Bring it on, I got it, I’m that good.” Okay, this wasn’t that serious of a situation, but really, this was asking for trouble.

The situation was that we had to cover election night. The other photographer, and my boss, had to bow out of working due to illness. So now instead of two photographer we got one. This meant I had to cover 3 candidates for mayor in Forest Park, plus at least three candidates for alderman in Chicago. The 3 Forest Park mayoral candidate images also had to be in pretty quick as the paper had to be out the door an hour or two later. The aldermanic images didn’t need to be in till morning at least, but involved a lot of driving. This just had the potential to fall apart, there is no way to be in six places at once. Three sure, six is a definite stretch though, especially with driving.

Suffice it to say they all got covered, with images to spare. 6 locations, 4 hours, 30 minutes of editing in there, and over an hour of driving. Loads of fun, though not even close to my personal record for number of locations in that amount of time. Now mind you I can’t take all the credit. Once we at the paper realized we had one photographer my editors did a great job of narrowing down coverage locations and minimizing drive time. They deserve a lot of credit, but I’m still really, really cool.

I’ve also discovered when I’m happy, my ego is feeling good, I tend to sing, mostly in the car. I think it’s my new sign of happiness. I don’t know when it started, but it did, and I like it. Mind you, I don’t sing well, but I enjoy doing it. I think it’s important to notice those signs, the tells we make when we have different moods. For me it’s singing in the car, and singing the song “I’m too sexy for my….” when I’m walking down the street.

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