Recently, someone asked me if I ever just go to something to enjoy it and not photograph it. I do. But it's not easy.
Or in Cindy's words, "Can't you just go to something to enjoy it without a camera in your face? There's more to life than taking pictures, y'know."
This is something I struggle with all the time. Cindy takes it for granted that I will photograph EVERYTHING. Doesn't matter where we go or what we do, she figures she's going to play second fiddle to my camera. She basically becomes a photography widow. There are times she's OK with that. Especially if it's something that I'm sure I can interest someone in and I can sell. Or if it's something that she knows I have really wanted to do or it's something that will add to my skillset. Sometimes, like at concerts, she knows I'll only get to photograph the first two or three songs, and I'll be there with her for the rest of the show, so that's sort of OK. Sometimes she just doesn't bother to go with me to whatever it is because she just doesn't want to be there by herself while I'm off snapping away and giving in to my addiction.
There are times when I don't take a camera with me. I make the conscious decision to leave it behind. It is rare, but it does happen. I may be making "neuro-chromes" in my brain the whole time and thinking "that would have made a great shot". It may be a bit uncomfortable for awhile. But I do survive.
One time just recently, I was approved to shoot the Russian Ballet Company's performance of Swan Lake at the Times-Union Center. And not just the first fifteen minutes or whatever; the tour manager had seen my dance work and said that I could shoot the entire performance. I was ecstatic. I was ready to make some phenomenal images. I could only imagine how beautiful these would be.
With the photo approval, I'd even been given two tickets for Cindy and me. They were OK seats in the back. Because I'd have to shoot the show from the rear of the theatre. As advanced as cameras have become, they still make a bit of noise and it could be disruptive to some of the other patrons during a performance like this. So, it made sense to put us in the back where fewer people might get annoyed. However, if I decided not to photograph it, we could have much better seats....much, much better. And I wouldn't be bothering anyone.
And I could enjoy the whole thing with Cindy.
So, what do you think I did?
As uncharacteristic as it might be, I enjoyed the entire performance from the great seats we were offered, with Cindy beside me, my camera in my lap and my bag between my legs. I didn't take one photo. That's right, not even one. Sure I wanted to, but it was more important to me to enjoy the performance with Cindy and let everyone around me enjoy it as well. And I did. We all did.
And I'm glad I did it.
And I lived.
Will I make the same decision next time? I can't say for sure. Maybe. We'll just have to see.