Tricky Shoot

2007 Self-Portrait

2007 Self-Portrait

A decade ago, I used to be a professional photographer. It happened because I loved to photograph my travels and share the images with my mom. I felt like I was bringing the world closer to her. I used to spend hours walking around my neighborhood and shooting photos of things or people that I found interesting. The whole time, I’d be on the phone with my mom. She’d hear the camera clicking, and I’d tell her what I saw. Later, after I had the film developed and printed, I would mail the photos to her and then, we’d talk about them together on the phone.

I shot thousands of photos this way. Talk, click, print and share. Before I could even think, I found myself winning awards and getting paid to shoot. It was effortless.

Then, my mom died. I stopped shooting. I found no joy in it. I didn’t care.

Until Saturday.

I have a friend who is a professional photographer and she’s aware of when and why I stopped shooting. On Friday, a day before her photo shoot, she wanted to know if I had time to assist her. I could either help or be there for moral support.

My whole body lit up with the invitation! I told her I’d be there. I thought I would go and be there for support.

On Saturday, when I arrive, I see that she was in the middle of setting up. We talk about her setup. I help her make adjustments. She begins shooting test shots. We review them and make more changes. Before I knew it, four and half hours had passed! My body completely forgot what it was like to be in that type of creative space. Whenever I would pick up her camera and look through the viewfinder, it came to me in a flash that my camera used to feel like an extension of my body. I had completely forgotten about that.

My body felt so good! It was as if I had never walked away. It was incredibly satisfying.

So yesterday, while I was talking to one of my best friends over Skype, my building’s fire alarm when off. Since that ended our conversation rather quickly, I grabbed my purse and headed out the door. Physically, I was a hot mess; I hadn’t brushed my hair, put on makeup or my contact lenses. I had clothes on that I wouldn’t wear outside of my home, but my body told me to get out of the building, so I did. I left.

By the time I walked down four flights of stairs, and out of the building, the alarm stopped. I laughed. I thought, well, I’m already out here, so I decided to go to the coffeehouse next door. I watched as I walked into the parking garage and headed to my car instead. I thought, oh, ok, I’ll get some lunch. And before I realized it, I found myself driving on the freeway to the camera store.

While I was in the middle of purchasing a new camera body, my mind was completely freaking out. It tried desperately to get me to rethink my purchase and wanted me to go back home. I was at the register when the screaming grew louder! Since I did not have the cash for it, I put the camera body on a credit card. My mind was NOT happy about that! It wanted nothing to do with the whole process. I just ignored it.

By the time I was home and took the camera out of the box, my body was delighted! It knows it made the right decision. My mind? Not so happy about the expense of it, but that is its only complaint.

Now, it’s time to head out and walk my camera around the neighborhood! I’m excited to see what I will find, what I will capture. I will miss you, Mom!