“I can’t believe I used to take good pictures.”
Looking back at old blog posts from two, three years ago, or even my January 2020 blog post, I’m absorbed with feelings of idleness and that I no longer take good photos. That I am not reaching my potential.
However, it is only a mindset. It is the variety of stories and my approach to them that has changed, not the photography. I do the best I can from a distance. My schedule is not fully loaded with assignments, but I am just as busy.
I have mentioned before that I do not closely follow traditional newspaper photojournalism. I draw my influences from the likes of William Eggleston and street photography.
But as a professional photojournalist, I have had no real interest in covering the coronavirus pandemic. I cover it to the capacity of my immediate job, but I have little desire to begin a project on it. Seeing other photojournalists going into people’s homes, documenting them as they battle the virus, the photojournalist in me screams with guilt that “shouldn’t I be doing the same?”
These stories are important and the photographers will certainly be recognized and honored for their brave storytelling, but I, personally, firmly believe that no photo is worth my life (or health). Thus, I have no ambition to pursue those stories.
Does this make me a bad photojournalist? Shouldn’t I be ready and willing to do anything thrown at me? Yes, but I draw a line. But then I ask myself – should I be drawing one? What do you think?
I find solace in a recent blog post by Magnum photographer Alec Soth of his photographic disinterest during this time.
“I’m not trying to make a great National Geographic picture, nor an important statement on the pandemic. I’m simply trying to savor the fleeting pleasures of looking in a time of profound unease.”
That is where I find myself now. Taking it day-by-day and appreciating life.
Central High School Principal Andrew Brown takes in the school’s football stadium lights. Schools turned their field lights on at 8:20 (20:20 military time) to honor the class of 2020, which has seen most, if not all, class and school functions cancelled as a result of COVID-19.
Damaged homes are seen in the Holly Hills subdivision in Chattanooga, Tenn. on Tuesday, April 14, 2020. A EF-3 tornado tore through Hamilton County causing widespread damage and killing at least two people and sending at least 21 to hospitals.
Debbie Baker puts on shoes to begin cleaning up her backyard in the Iverness subdivision in Chattanooga.
A basketball hoop is seen broken in half in the Holly Hills subdivision in Chattanooga.
Zuriel Lacey retrieves items from their garage in the Holly Hills subdivision in Chattanooga.
Workers administerCOVID-19 tests at Tennessee Smokies baseball stadium in Kodak, Tenn. Corie Gouge, with the East Tennessee Regional Health Office, said the site was administering around 100 tests per hour.
Medical professionals prepare to administer tests at a COVID-19 testing site at the Civic Coliseum in Knoxville, Tenn. Around 600 free tests were planned to be administered following questions by community leaders on the lack of coronavirus testing in East Knoxville for African Americans and in minority communities in general.
Yay Spring! -caitie mcmekin
Passersby greet Megan Lingerfelt as she puts the finishing touches on the Dolly Parton mural in Strong Alley in Knoxville.
University of Tennessee graduating senior Jake Tidwell poses for a portrait in his cap and gown at the Torchbearer on the UTK campus in Knoxville, Tenn. on Friday, April 17, 2020.
Kendall Medders, track and field athlete Halls, holds her medals and MVP trophy for a portrait at her home in Halls, Tenn. on Wednesday, April 29, 2020.
Law enforcement investigates at the scene of a stabbing and shooting at a Pilot truck stop on Strawberry Plains Pike in Knoxville, Tennessee on Tuesday, April 7, 2020. A man fatally stabbed three employees and wounded a customer at a Tennessee rest stop and travel center Tuesday morning before a deputy shot and killed him, authorities said.
The suspect’s body is wheeled to a waiting ambulance at the scene of a stabbing and shooting at a Pilot truck stop on Strawberry Plains Pike.
Knox County Sheriff Tom Spangler surveys the scene with Jimmy Haslam, back left, at the scene of a stabbing and shooting at a Pilot truck stop on Strawberry Plains Pike.
Jimmy John’s workers prepare 750 box lunches going to health care workers at Parkwest Medical at the Jimmy John’s on Cumberland Ave. in Knoxville. Jimmy John’s is providing nearly 5,000 free box lunches at an estimated cost of $30,000 for health care workers at each area hospital in support of their work combating the coronavirus.
Knoxville Parks & Recreation Director Sheryl Ely puts up caution tape around a playground at Malcolm-Martin Park to deter children from playing on it, part of a citywide Safer at Home order in Knoxville. Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon issued a stronger Safer at Home order last night, adding the “ability to take corrective action” against those violating the rules to battle the coronavirus. The order goes into effect Wednesday and lasts through April 6. It can be modified, rescinded or extended as needed.
Emma Parks soaks up some sun while reading a book in the front lawn of her Deaderick Ave. home in Knoxville. Mayor Kincannon passed a stronger Safer at Home order Monday urging residents to spend as much time at home as possible and continue practicing social distancing.
Rachel Garner, a sophomore at UT, reads a book in her hammock near the Humanities Amphitheater on the UTK campus in Knoxville. UT has moved all classes online and closed the campus to students due to coronavirus.
Nicholas Tidler, a tattoo artist at Purple Heart Tattoo on Central Street in Knoxville, Tenn. on Wednesday, April 22, 2020.
Ann Barber, with her dog Mr. Grady, and friend Liz Coburn, with her dog Hope, socially distance while taking a walk down Emoriland Blvd. in Knoxville.
A bursh fire burns on Rockwood Mountain late into the evening in Rockwood, Tennessee on Sunday, April 5, 2020.
at Melton Lake Park in Oak Ridge, Tenn. on Monday, April 13, 2020.
at Melton Lake Park in Oak Ridge, Tenn. on Monday, April 13, 2020.
Knoxville Catholic High School seniors Natalie Dale and Benjamin Pinzon pose for a prom portrait in the Knox News Virtual Prom in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, April 25, 2020. This photo was taken with a Hoya Star Six filter to create a star effect.
Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs announces a temporary furlough of county government employees as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic at a press conference. The furlough will affect a yet-to-be-determined number of employees in the fee offices and every executive branch department.
Workers load cars with a box of food at a drive-thru food distribution at Cherokee Health Systems on Western Ave. in Knoxville.
Anthony Ragland holds a photo of his father, Tommy Felder, outside of his home in Knoxville. Felder passed away Monday in New York after contracting coronavirus.
Construction workers rise on a scissor lift at Regal Pinnacle in Turkey Creek in Farragut, Tenn. Regal is making improvements to the Pinnacle, including a new bar and lobby area.
Emma Marshall, a temporarily laid-off worker at Downtown Grill & Brewery, teaches herself how to roller skate to keep herself occupied outside her home on Emoriland Blvd. in Knoxville.
A cat strolls along the sidewalk in late evening sunshine in Knoxville, Tenn.
Shoppers browse the Oak Ridge Farmers Market in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, April 18, 2020.
in Knoxville, Tenn. on Monday, April 27, 2020.