Something happened the other day and it took me until about now to understand what really went on. Here's the situation. I was given an assignment to go someplace and make photos for an article. Nothing new here. I pack my bags to get physically ready for what I am to encounter and to render it as the client is anticipating. Load up the car and drive to the location but something is bugging me the whole time. I get those kind of feelings and I learned a long time ago to listen to them.
It's a kind of limbic system awareness that is not always correct but when it is you are thankful. Much like when you are out with a friend late at night and the friend says "Oh, let's cut through here, it's a short cut" and as you look down that dark alley/lonely street/empty park the hairs on your neck stand up and the pit of your stomach starts to tighten. You know that feeling. It's your lizard brain letting you know stuff that our much ballyhooed cerebellum tends to ignore. The feeling isn't good so you convince your buddy to take the long way and it just seems like you saved yourself a lot of getting lost, a flat tire or worse a mugging. Women tend to listen to the quiet little voices in our heads more than men do. While dudes have the same alert network they tend to boldly go on regardless of those nagging "something isn't right here …" notices.
(Meanwhile back at the ranch …) Before I left for the assignment I called the assignment desk to make sure that my info was correct. Yes it's all there just as they sent it to me. Uh, ok. And again as I was driving to the shoot I kept feeling that something was off. None the less I proceeded to get my head screwed on for what I needed to do. Now I don't try to previsualize a shoot as things rarely turn out as we imagine before we arrive. Worse it's not what the client expects having never been "there" and can't see what happens when you are trying to make something out of nothing.
Instead what I do is kind of like a meditation whereby I clear my mind so that I am open to whatever opportunity presents itself to me when I am on location. Sometimes what seems to be a totally worthless situation is actually pretty cool, it's just not what you expected and as a result you are so focused on what is not there you miss what is. Expecting a location with rich saturated colors and strong light but get a socked in overcast day and muted pastels? Make the tone of the image subtle and demure. Why not? Could be cool. Unless your mind is open to all possibilities you will only find what you are looking for rather than what is there. Insert your Zen here.
When I arrive at the location I immediately find out that the information given to me was wrong. The subject that I was supposed to photograph wasn't scheduled for that day at all and there is no way to work around it and therefore nothing to shoot for the client. Made a call back to the desk to explain and headed back home feeling bad. Not for the client, they dropped the ball somewhere and that's that. Not that I was put out, I still got paid for the shoot even if my cameras didn't leave the bag. Instead I was super let down. Granted the shoot wasn't supposed to be anything amazing where the clip would go into my folio or better yet be that "award winner". Ha! No it was just a chance to go and make photographs. Yes I make photos all the time but the bummer of it was that I had gotten into the zone and through the mess up it yanked me back to reality where things go wrong that I can't overcome through either my outright creativity or my ability to work the bad human based situation into a good one.
This scenario has happened many times in my carrier but it took until the other day to finally figure out why when it happens I feel so bad afterwards. Well not bad-bad but more like a real disappointment. I love the fact that I can earn a living doing what I do but that's because I love what I do so much that it is a critical part of who I am. The process of making photos, something I sometimes call "the dance", is almost an out of mind experience and needs to be. Getting psyched up to dance only to have the music stop as you enter the dance hall, man that's just no fun.
So on an up note, I was out the other night and grabbed this very colorful and luminous scene but decided that it was actually moodier than my eyes told me. Ah, artistic lisence!