Thursday, April 22, 2010
365 Photo Project - Day 112
Taken: April 22, 2010, 6:30 p.m.
Location: Healdsburg, Ca
I'm not feeling this project these days. Not sure if it's fatigue or boredom or a just a fear that nothing I shoot is any good. But whatever it is, it's wearing on me some lately.
I know this because I've found myself scrambling the last few days just to get an image in before the deadline. Even when I do finding something to shoot, I'm taking fewer shots and finding one to use is getting harder and harder. Maybe I'm just getting more picky.
I knew I might have days like this -- I was aware the idea of taking a new photo every day would get tougher and tougher as the weeks went by. I knew that my head would be full of ideas on day one but that like any other creative endeavor, there would be a moment when my mind would go blank and I'd think: well, what do I do now?
I don't want to say it's a burden, but I admit on some days, the pressure gets to me. Partly it's because I realize that I'm not just doing this for myself now. Maybe I don't have a helluva lot of readers but those few that I do have are now part of my journey. And I don't want to lose y'all by not keeping the photos coming. I'm already guilty about not writing as much these last couple of weeks.
Fortunately for you, I'm one of those people who hates to break promises, especially to myself. And the hard way seems to be the only road with which I'm familiar. I'll just have to weather these blahs and forge onward.
Doing this project is the first time since my days as a reporter when I have to produce something pretty much every day, rain or shine, idea or no. The first part of my adult working life was spent writing for newspapers, a job I fell into easily and confidently.
There was a moment in my career when you could say with certainty that I was born to be a reporter. I was good at it, noted for being dogged, determined and I'm pleased to say, fair. Even my so-called enemies respected me.
I can recall in detail, the few times I scooped my competition -- details like where I was and what the weather was like, the time of day, the smells. Like the time I beat the Washington Post to a big-time college football story. I was working in D.C., on my way back from covering the old Big East/ACC Tournament at the Meadowlands (which dates my ass for sure). It was just starting to snow as I hit the Garden State Parkway in my Ford rental, one of those pseudo- sports cars that would slide all over the damn highway all the way home.
I was racing the weather but it was midnight and the papers were hitting the streets in the District and I just had to find out if the Post had the story in its early edition. So I pulled over at a rest stop and called the copy desk. When the copy chief told me it wasn't there, I literally did a dance right there in the snow. I'm sure it wasn't pretty to look at but oh, what a feeling.
I swear that moment seems so innocent by today's standards.
I ain't breaking any news when I say journalism is a shadow of itself. Instant gratification was the first blow but the characterization of solid reporter as being someone "left" or "liberal" was the death blow. Now we got places like Fox News (and to a certain extent MSNBC) that masquerade as real journalism but is in fact nothing more than pointed commentary. But when lies and half truths and propaganda are sold as fact, the slippery slope turns 90 degrees downward, straight on into hell.
I soured on journalism long before I finally left. I hated the idea that the bottom line was becoming more important than doing good reporting and I realized that as long as newspapers had to make money to survive, it was going to be harder and harder to do it right.
What's worse, I don't think I have that fire inside anymore. I no longer dream of being one of the "boys on the bus"nor do I still count bylines or try to figure out who's getting more stories on A1, who's above the fold and who isn't.
I do miss the being part of something, being a fly on the wall of small town politics. There was a moment during my time in one community where I knew everybody's business, where not much went on without me knowing or getting filled in shortly thereafter.
And yet I kind of like being anonymous too. I like the not knowing. Sometimes I think I'm becoming complacent. But that's why I have to keep this project alive. I have to stay in this game. No turning back neither. So I guess I'll see y'all tomorrow.
The motel in this shot is situated right at the entrance to Healdsburg, I don't know how old that sign is but I love that it feels like it's from another time. I caught this image just before sunset -- the light was fantastic. Wish I could have caught it better. But if the image feels a little dark, it is. I wanted the lights of the signs to stand out more.