I love photography but walking around with a camera is hardly a comfortable thing. It's starting to cause a tingling feeling in my upper shoulder. The damned shoulder strap, made of some puny, little, sponge pad digs into the nook that forms the junction between neck and shoulder. I think its starting to create a permanent ridge.
But, that's not the real problem. It's not in my neck, it's all in my head. I am a self-conscious person doing a self-conscious thing when I carry my camera. And my camera is bigger than I'd like. Big cameras make people look like dorks and since the age of 14 I've tried hard to avoid dorkiness. And when I point a big camera at people they hardly ever respond in a positive way. A world of terrorism, suspicion, Facebook photos, and Google Street View has made us all paranoid. Dorks pointing cameras at people doesn't help.
Over the years I've become more unobtrusive with my camera. It's not easy when the shutter click sounds like thunder and the lens protrudes a foot into the personal space of my subjects. But, I've learned lessons from my myriad cats and I can stalk my prey with the best of them. However, all this makes me tired.
So, I've taken to photographing my reflection. Unlike my real subjects in the real world, I am a willful participant in my odd world of imagination and creativity. I don't care anymore if I look good in my photos. Sometimes the worse I look, the better the photo is. There are so many stiff snapshots of me smiling with my family at Christmas, Easter, and summer vacation that I can hardly add anything more to that collection of toothy veneer. So, I just point the camera at my sneering self and click the shutter.
I figure someday I'll gather my collection of reflection self-portraits and figure myself out. It will be a moment of profound insight and revelation. Until then, I'll walk around town, permanently stooped by the uneven weight of my Nikon, looking for photos of myself and maybe others. I wonder if Robert Frank ever felt like a dork.