One of the reasons that I quickly decided not to pursue becoming a conflict zone photographer was the same reason that I couldn't let myself become a psychotherapist: I feel too much. I can't be fully objective, clinical or detached. I'm pretty good at putting on my professional mindset and being fair to a subject that on my own time I wouldn't want to be around. I've had to photograph people who I don't at all care for but I can reserve my opinions and treat them professionally and decently. Once I get home I'll make whatever quiet commentary I want about the scumbag but never when I'm working.
The difference to me is not people who are mean but people who are suffering. Animals in pain and neglect bring me to tears. Pain is something that I never ever want to either get used to witnessing or worse learn to ignore. Humans do so many horrible things to each other and the world in general that it's hard to not notice. That's why I try to focus my work on the positive things that people can do. We need to know that there is good in us even if there is a distinct cruel and destructive streak in our species.
That said my wife and I live with 3 predators – the cats. I love them dearly but every so often when I see them beating the stuffing literally out of one of their toys I think about the power and ferocity of those soft, fuzzy, purring death machines. I wonder about the abject terror that a sparrow or mouse feels when faced with a pouncing tabby. It must be like what a small child would feel if a tiger decides to "play" with them. House cats are about the only animal besides humans who kill for pleasure. Despite that I still love our kitties.
We have a large bird feeder that attracts lots of sparrows and finches and they delight the cats. We call it the "Feline Entertainment Center". A while ago my wife noticed a little field mouse eating some of the seed the birds knocked out. She thought that the little guy had made a nest at the base of the bush. I had pet mice as a kid and have a soft place in my heart for little furry whiskered things.
I went out this afternoon to refill the feeder happy because of the beauty of
the fresh falling snow. But then I noticed two dead mice on our porch. When I saw them my heart felt like lead. If finding a dead mouse makes me want to cry it's a good idea that I didn't try to cover a famine.
know what to do so I took some photos of them as they lie. They are so
small and fragile – the snow flakes alarmingly large. It made me think
of how sudden yet inevitable the end is for any of us – person, whale,
mouse. All I could think of was to make a photo of the tiny guys in
memory of animals I've never met before who were just trying to survive the Colorado winter.
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