the photoshooter's journey from taking to making




PHOTOGRAPHY IS NOT A PLACE TO ESCAPE THE FEELINGS OF UNCERTAINTY THAT COLOR nearly every human endeavor. If you’re looking for a sure thing, you’d best not ever pick up a camera. Like ever.

In a tsunami of tech-talk designed to assure and soothe the anxious snapper, perhaps we can only move forward by going back, in a return to the only universally recognized authority on how to conduct the affairs of man with clarity and surety.

I’m suggesting that we all dig into our toy chests and begin, once again, to trust the Magic 8-Ball.

Hey, if it was good enough to pronounce on whether that cute boy in Math likes you, or whether you’ll win a million dollars, it should be wise enough to help you make better pictures. Some of the Ball’s responses even seem to be custom-made for the modern photographic age.

Will my last good battery die just before the bride and groom cut the cake?

You may rely on it

Is this on-line equipment reviewer on the level, or is he just a corporate shill who gets his gear for free?

Better not tell you now

Will my new, cutting-edge have any manufacturer support from the manufacturer beyond, say, my next birthday?

Outlook not so good

Even in 2022, can I still manage to forget to remove my lens cap?

It is decidedly so

Will this editing software help me rescue my crappiest pictures?

Very doubtful

Should I perhaps share just one of the thirty-five frames I shot of my adorable cat in a Batwoman costume?

It is certain

Will more than one shot on a twenty-four exposure role of film from my plastic toy camera not make me cringe?

My sources say no

And, finally, should I just sell all my cameras and learn to paint? By the numbers, maybe?

Reply hazy, try again 

Maybe trying to remove the risk from photography is the wrong approach (spoiler alert: it is). Maybe the uncertainty is not only the point, but the entire thrill. Perhaps pulling something organized and intentional out of randomness is why we do it in the first place. As to our chances for occasionally beating the odds and freezing something wonderful inside a box, the ball has the last word: outlook good. 


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