1) I am not an event photographer.
For a long time I believed that if I were present at an event, and taking pictures constantly throughout that event, that afterwards I would have a collection of meaningful, memorable photographs that I could share with others to give them the thrilling feeling that they had actually been there.
While I was pretty good during high school and college at documenting the shenanigans my friends and I engaged in, being skilled at ordering subjects to smile and hold up their beers while two of them mock arm wrestle on a dorm bed does not make you the equivalent of an event photographer, no matter how much of that moment you may have captured. Face it: It was not a complicated moment.
My most recent reminder of this fact was during a family reunion I attended over the summer. Being the sensitive, thoughtful photographer I am, I neglected to even pack a camera for the trip, so instead I spent one desperate evening sprinting around during a backyard barbeque, stiff-armed, pointing my cell phone at family members like a fencing sword while telling them to ‘hold it for a second’ as they innocently tried to converse with people they didn’t get to see very often while eating ribs (which is hard enough to do in itself).
The resulting pictures are about what you’d expect. People look confused, annoyed; they are blurry and indistinct walking in or out of the frame. Some have their mouths open in mid-sentence (the sentence was probably something along the lines of ‘oh, no’ or ‘what are you—?’). I got a couple of good snapshots of the younger kids mugging for the camera, their cheeks painted with sticky rib sauce. But little kids are notoriously good at going with the flow where cameras are concerned, having not yet discovered their self-loathing or their bad sides. They also instinctively understand that when someone is pointing a cell phone at them, it is to take a picture; a fact which is not always obvious to older generations.
98% of the pictures I ended up with are useless, which is too bad, since I also went around telling everyone “as soon as I get home, I’ll send you copies of these!” Hopefully they have since forgotten both that statement and my behavior.
Thank goodness I had the presence of mind to engage the services of an actual event photographer at my wedding, rather than just sticking a camera into the unwilling hands of several of the guests as I had originally planned. I now realize what an unfortunate disaster that would have been. Demanding anything of your wedding guests other than that they have a good time and eat and drink a lot is really not appropriate.
There are some jobs that you can do yourself, but there are also valid reasons that certain professional fields exist: because most of us are bad at doing those things and should hire someone who knows what they are doing if we want good results. It’s time I better learned to differentiate between the two. Who knows, maybe someday I’ll even stop cutting my own hair!
A couple of weekends ago, my little sister and I got together for a mini Schoemann family reunion. As typically happens under such circumstances, when relatives spend several days in close quarters, we ended up making a stop-action animation movie starring Shark Bites fruit snacks. As she notes, it was our first collaboration on stop-motion animation since elementary school. I helped with the first few seconds of footage, but the inspiration and the editing were all her. Nice work Sarah! Watch it here.
When I am at work and I am having one of those days, I sometimes calm down by picturing myself at home at the end of the day, relaxing with a chilled glass of wine. Is this a warning sign? Or an excellent stress-management technique? Or maybe both?
The other weekend I took a quiz called ‘Are You an Alcoholic’ on About.com. I don’t think I am an alcoholic. Honestly, I took the quiz out of morbid curiosity mingled with self-righteousness. I took the quiz because I am fairly certain I am NOT an alcoholic. I figured it would be like one of those soft-ball quizzes they have in Seventeen Magazine entitled ‘Does He Like You?’ where the questions are extremely obvious. (“You sit next to him in class and he: A) passes notes with you B) Ignores you C) Punches you in the throat”). However, THIS quiz didn’t pull any punches. My results told me I probably have a drinking problem. Apparently that’s the verdict if you answered ‘Yes’ to three questions.
First of all, what kind of quiz is that? Every answer on a quiz is not supposed to be ‘No’! About.com! Isn’t that kind of obvious? Mix it up a little here. Not only that, but I don’t think all of the questions on this quiz were equally serious. Take one of the questions I answered ‘Yes’ to:
‘Do you drink to escape from worries or trouble?’ Can anyone reading this say ‘No’ to this question? Anyone I would get along with, anyway? What other reasons are there to drink, except maybe in celebration—and don’t celebrations, like weddings, or company Christmas parties, make most people kind of miserable deep down anyway, which they then drink to escape? Ok, fine…I may have other problems.
Furthermore, if someone says ‘Yes’ to the ‘escape from worries’ question, would you be more or less alarmed if they also said yes to THIS question:
‘Does your drinking make you careless of your family’s welfare?’ WHAT. Ok, a ‘Yes’ to this question should be worth at least 5 points more than a ‘Yes’ to the previous question. Having a drink after a long day at work or a bad breakup is not on the same level as endangering your family’s welfare (unless you are drinking at a family reunion, which is highly advisable).
All right, here’s another question I said yes to: ‘Do you drink alone?’ Again, is that always so bad? Particularly since this question is not very specific and could therefore reasonably encompass many different kinds of solitary drinking. I mean, there’s “It’s Saturday night and The Wedding Date is on Lifetime and me and this bottle of wine are going to watch Debra Messing be unconvincingly dowdy together until I turn in at 11pm” alone-drinking. Then there’s drinking alone in the bathroom at work, or in your parked car underneath the turnpike. About.com, can you please be more specific here? When should I really worry?
I don’t remember the other question I said yes to; the one that pushed me over the edge into problem-drinking territory. It was probably something similarly ambiguous and open-ended, such as, ‘Do you drink because you are shy around other people?’ or ‘Do you drink to raise your self-esteem?’ No, I drink because I feel too hydrated.
That’s what I get for being honest. I guess when it comes down to it, are there really any legitimately good, healthy reasons to drink? Does a quiz like this automatically set you up to fail? One thing is for sure; from now on I’m sticking to quizzes that help me discover my fashion IQ and tell me which kind of Spirit Animal I am most like. If any of those quizzes tell me I have a drinking problem, I’ll listen.