Wednesday, October 22, 2008


new york city.

it's the one place on the planet i really never wanted to go. the one place that, upon finding out i would have to visit, made me lose sleep for at least a month. for as long as i can remember, i've had this unfounded fear of the hustle-and-bustle of nyc. so many people. so many places to go. so much rush. the thought of it always left me with a knot in my stomach and an unshakable anxiety.

then the worst possible thing happened: i was accepted into the eddie adams workshop. don't get me wrong, being accepted into the workshop was an incredible honor, and was something i'd hoped for almost desperately over the last few years. but it meant i would have to face my fear of the big, scary apple.

i'll post more later about the actual experience there, but for now i can say i survived. but there was one thing that shook me worse than i would have expected, and it set the tone for a week of madness that i had doubts i would make it through. sitting on that plane, staring at the neverending lights of nyc, i wished so badly i could call my dad for strength. it was the worst thing i could imagine, facing that terrifying, gaping city without the safety net of his consoling words. and even though the last few months have eased from sadness into the comfort of forced ignorance, this one moment just about broke me.

i had a conversation with a friend in the city about personal loss and its toll on your photography. i figure that, in this case, there are two kinds of people. there are the people that take that loss as a sign that life is short and run head-first into every experience from that point forward. then there are people, like myself, who internalize that loss. every day that i photograph, every person i meet on assignment, every picture i take, i fall in love a little bit. i think that if you really love this job, you have to. but with every love, there is loss when you have to leave, when you're not sure if you'll see that person again. so every day is a little love and a little loss, over and over again. so while some people are loving and losing and embracing that, i find myself hesitant to initiate that cycle again because i'm almost paralyzed with the fear of those little losses.

i love to take pictures, and i love that i can almost survive by doing exactly what i love. but for the last few months i've found myself too scared to do it. and if there's anything worse than fear of loss, it's the realization that you've already lost and you have no idea how to save it.