Saturday, April 25, 2009

A Fork in the Road

Praying copy

As I approach my 100th blog post (this is #98), I find myself at a crossroads. I would have never dreamed back in October that I would have posted nearly 100 times in six short months. Who knew? I sure didn't. I'd been thinking about it for months, but it took my good friend, Ron, to give me a shove. That's what friends are for sometimes. This photo journal idea has been a fun adventure. I've met many people through blog "comments" that I now consider friends.

My original motivation to blog was to keep me thinking, doing, & creating. If there is one thing I've been good at over the years, it has been giving myself assignments to keep the momentum going. I've always felt that is important for me. As a commercial photographer, I'm usually shooting stuff my clients want and that can be unfulfilling.

I've discovered during this journey that some of the things I shoot for myself end up being very personal and not necessarily for public consumption. Therefore, many of the things I shoot never make it to the blog...yet they tend to be the shots that are the most meaningful to me. I'm making an exception with the photo above. I'm not sure why. I guess I just feel like it today. I'm posting it before I change my mind.

I had to fight back tears after I captured this early today. I knew this fellow was in "desperation mode". I could see it clearly written on his face. He needed help...and he needed it right now. He sat down to pray with a clergyman. He had tears in his eyes. They joined hands. I chose not to shoot their faces. It wasn't necessary and they needed their privacy and anonymity. The simplicity of their hands tells enough of the story. From a distance, I clicked one frame and moved away...and I tried to choke down the lump in my throat.

There is an age-old question that photojournalists have to rationalize:  Is their work somehow benefited by the despair of others? The flip side of that question is: Can society be benefited by exposing the human condition to the light of day? I've never really considered myself a photojournalist -- at least not a good one. And if I put myself in the role of a photojournalist at times, I struggle mightily with those questions.

Maybe what I saw today put me in a reflective mood. One hundred posts seems like a good time to examine, adjust, re-jigger, or maybe just look back. I'm not sure where I go from here. Maybe it's time for a new and different self-assignment...maybe not. Time will tell. In any case, thanks to YOU for participating.

I appreciate it more than you know.

+++

4 comments:

Jay said...

Wow, Dan.

Your talent is unmatched by anyone I have seen. You're inspirational.

This is one that everyone can relate to, we've all needed this moment... whether we've lived it or not.

Please don't give yourself a new assigment... I am looking forward to 100 more, friend.

Hales said...

Dan, this photograph moved em to tears. Hands can say so much, and I truly feel for this man. Thanks so much for sharing.

Ron said...

Dan, I'm so so glad that you've decided to start blogging. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and your artistry with the rest of the world--I truly mean that from the bottom of my heart! Awesome pic above...I completely understand your feeling.

Dan Denardo said...

Jay, Hales, and Ron,

I want you all to know how much I appreciate your comments. This post really shook me up. The look I saw on this fellow's face really troubled me. I guess the good news is that he was in a place where he could get help. And ya know what? I needed help, too, after seeing this and making this post. And you guys came to my rescue. Thanks so much.