I started social distancing in early March. Early March of 1980. Kidding, sort of. But in early March, I ramped up my already formidable social distancing habits to COVID-level. And I’ve been kicking myself for it. How can someone want to be a documentary photographer but not be out documenting life under COVID?
I haven’t got any solid answers to that. Part of it probably involves reasons I don’t want to think about too much. If I haven’t come up with an idea or something to explore, I am prone to spinning my wheels. I’ll go down the rabbit hole of obsessively following the news, pretending I’m doing something productive. The news, at least the news in the CNN, MSNBC, and Fox world, is all garbage. Well, not all of it. I just read an incredible article in CNN Business examining issues with our food supply. It’s a great article, but a rarity for the churn and burn news cycle.
Some of the reasons are good ones, though. I like to think I’m careful and aware, but I haven’t got the training or equipment to be shooting photos around hospitals. I read a column today mentioning Florence Nightingale. Do No Harm. A good mantra for all of us. I think you can very safely shoot photos right now, but even with zoom lenses, there’s an onus to think it through. Why am I going out, how many people might I come in contact with, etc. I haven’t come up with coherent ideas.
But I got some photos a couple of days ago that I’m happy with. Arriving in Bremerton on the Seattle to Bremerton ferry. I posted them in a gallery in the previous blog entry, but I went back and looked at them again a few times. I don’t do that all that often. I think I caught a cohesive moment of life in the Pacific Northwest during COVID. No, they’re not great photos, but they’re small steps towards some of the photos I want to be taking. That moment, that place, that time.