Alex Catalano

July 10: Froze

Shot Count


I've frozen while watching an aflamed riding mower burn beneath a pink sky and fumbled through my bag failing to get a passersby beneath a lone amber light while I was stopped in traffic. My camera's usually within reach, but I'm too slow unwrapping its protective fabric. And sometimes, I just don't try. Either way, I cringe when I miss shots.

I bought extra film for this weekend. I'll be around cultural neighborhoods in Tampa and St. Pete for my mom's birthday. The solace I give myself in the cringing moments is that there are always more moments like these. Those are the times I get to strap the damn camera to my hand and go get images. "Prepare," I tell myself. Prepare to take the photo, and then I can blame myself for the missing shots instead of fumbling opportunities.

I froze, or locked, or whatever, some point after photographing Ocala and Orlando, like I was afraid to take an imperfect photo. And that's what burned me out on digital. It's not that film costs a dollar a shot. It's just that I fear not every shot improving from the last. I want every shot to have a purpose.

Merging images with web development exacerbated this by putting the images' initial purpose behind their implementation. I almost never get what I'm picturing anyways. My favorite images usually end up being the blips between struggling with forcing idealism.

I broke my frozen pattern at pizza night last week. I found some energy to strap the camera to my hand and snap off some images. "When did I lose this?" I wondered photographing a group in the crosswalk. When did snapping off images become regrettable?

Pizza night may be relatively rare. I think just ordering film and tying my shoes is the key.