The photo I posted here is from a Hawks’ game but I really want to write about Haiti.
Even though I have the people in Haiti in my prayers right now I want to use this blog post to discuss some of the thoughts I have had while looking at the earthquake photographs being made on the island.
Some of the greats of newspaper photojournalism are working the disaster. Among them are Carolyn Cole and Rick Loomis of the LA Times, Damon Winter of the New York Times, Carol Guzy of the Washington Post and Patrick Farrell of the Miami Herald. I assume many others are on their way. Definitely google Cole and Winter’s work. It is epic.
Like the days after September 11th and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, I can’t see enough photos from Haiti.
I have so many feelings going through me right now.
Besides overwhelming sadness, I also feel things that probably only other photographers feel. Some of those feelings I am not very proud of.
First off, it is a little sad that I want to look at an endless number of images of human suffering. Also, the fact that I can look at a photo of a pile of dead bodies and think to myself, “Hmmm…that is poorly composed. That photographer missed a great opportunity?” is kinda wrong.
I am in awe of the images being taken by my colleagues shooting the earthquake but also a tiny bit jealous. I have no idea if my newspaper has sent or are planning to send a shooter to Haiti but if they do I know that I won’t be one of those asked to go. International news coverage has never been part of my job description. Not that I don’t think that I am capable of doing it and doing it well but due to family circumstances and other factors out of my control I have never shot in a war zone or a disaster area.
I don’t want to be in Haiti right now because it looks like hell on earth. But, I am trying to understand why I am feeling jealousy?
Maybe it is because even though I love being a community journalist/ sports shooter, I feel that most people look down on what I do. I don’t go to exotic places and shoot exotic people. I don’t cover earthquakes, forest fires, hurricanes, tsunamis or wars. I don’t wear a scarf and shoot with a Leica. In my whole career, I have only seen one dead body outside of the many many funerals that I have shot.
I have covered some huge events, like Barack Obama’s Inauguration, three Olympic Games, a World Series and a Super Bowl, so no one should feel sorry for me but I still feel a step below the war/disaster shooters.
I will get over it but right now I feel that everything I shoot in Chicago is a waste of time and totally insignificant.
However if push came to shove, I wouldn’t trade my long term farm/subdivision personal project for anything. I wouldn’t give up sitting on the couch watching football with my son for weeks away from home.
I guess I just have a terrible case of “the grass is always greener” syndrome.
Time to go finish building a shelf in the basement.
Thanks for reading my self-indulgent ramblings.
©2010 Scott Strazzante/ Chicago Tribune