T-Minus 1 hour

September 27, 2009

hey hey hey…

I’m sitting in a hotel room in the middle of the country, waiting for the minutes to tick down to begin a photography workshop. In an hour, I can pick up a loner camera and a freshly formatted card and begin to wander the streets of Small Town America in search of 40 decent shots and a story to focus on for the week.

I. Am. Panicked.

My Plan A story, the one I thought about before getting here and was giddy to find was still a possibility this morning, may be trashed because someone else beat me to it. Which means it was either (A) Not that special a story anyway, or (B), So awesome that everyone else thought so too. What happens when someone else has homed in on my Plan B story? And my Plan C story? What happens when all the real photojournalists get there first? Soon, we will find out.

We’re all panicked, I think, all 30 of these people here with me. The backs of everyone’s minds are suddenly racing with comparisons, and the “What do you do” and “Where are you from” questions have never seemed so loaded.  The consolation is that by now I know enough about my own insecurities–and my strengths–to know how to circumvent the nerves.

“On photography: never let yourself get comfortable.” Someone just posted that on Twitter in what might be the most well-timed post I’ve seen. Thanks, Katy, for unknowingly helping me calm the fuck down just now. The point here is to be out of my comfort zone, to stretch what I can do beyond its current limits. So no, I don’t want to be comfortable this week, and these nerves are something I should embrace, not fight.

I probably didn’t help matters by having four cups of coffee this morning.

So as proof and a reminder to myself that I do know what I’m doing, here’s a set of shots from the great midwestern city: