I am new to the photography community, and especially the street photography community, but not to photography. When I was a in my early 20’s I’d go out and take pictures around my neighborhood by myself. I never knew anyone else who was into what I was into. I have always felt I didn’t fit in anywhere. Especially because my hobbies tend to be male dominated, I haven’t always been readily welcomed in some circles.
On the opposite side of the negativity I have encountered, there has also been some really nice people I’ve met in the community online. I really got a surge of inspiration after I got out of the hospital in June. I tend to be my most creative when I am going through a flare up. A professor of mine once said I do my best work when I am sickest. Not sure of why that is. Maybe there’s somthing about doctors telling you they dont know how to help you that really makes you think about life and death, and that in turn makes me just want to express myself. I want so badly to get out and photograph. There’s only one problem. Neuropathy.
I’ve mentioned before I suffer from a particularly nasty case of Crohn’s Disease, and back in June I was in the hospital with a bad flare up for two weeks that scared even the doctors. They had to use a high dose of steroids to get it under control, and unfortunately when I came home, I found out it had given me neuropathy and put me in a wheelchair. They suspect it will go away with physical therapy, and once I am off the steroids, but until then I am in a lot of pain and cant walk or stand for more than 10 minutes at a time, not to mention my face is swollen which makes me want to retreat even more. So what do you do when everything seems to be working against you? Take things into your own hands.
I can’t stand being stuck in my bed so every morning I eat breakfast, then I shoot film, and digital around my house just to practice and to scratch that itch I get to take photos. That way I can fit it in before the pain and fatigue get too bad. Photography is my rehab. I’ve been trying since June to get Physical Therapy, but with all the red tape of insurance, doctors, etc. It’s not going to happen anytime soon. So just as I’ve been doing since I was diagnosed 10 years ago, I take care of myself. Still, I can’t help but feel down, wanting so badly to get out and shoot like everyone else.
Street Photos From My Car
Before my doctors appointment last week, I decided to bring my digital camera and one of my Nikon F’s with me. I wasn’t sure how I would feel afterwards, I usually feel very drained and in pain after an appointment, but I brought them just in case.
Surprisingly, even after my doctor said he is learning about my disease along with me, (just what I want to hear from the man who holds my life in his hands) all I felt through my appointment was excitement and anxiety to leave and go take pictures. Normally I feel extreme anxiety at these appointments, but I just want to escape sometimes and photography is that escape for me.
After we left, I decided to try and shoot from the car window since I cant get out and stand right now.
I still had some energy so I thought I’d do some street photography from the car. I wasn’t driving obviously, so I took pictures of things as we drove by and surprisingly I got some nice shots with my digital camera. I didn’t risk wasting film during this part.
Every time I go to my doctor I pass this tree and say “I really want to take pictures of that tree one day.” I finally did. It’s this really huge, wild tree in front of a building that has just taken over the area. I always wonder how long it’s been there. It has wild branches growing in every direction and it’s leaves form a giant canopy overhead like a glass ceiling. I love it and plan on taking pictures of it again after my next doctors appointment, probably trying a different camera and lens each time.
I shot with my canon EOS T6i and traded off with my Nikon F Apollo with the FTn meter. I used Kodak Color Plus 200 film and my Nikkor 105mm lens. I wasn’t too thrilled with my lens choice for these shots so I’ll try a different one next time.
So that was my day shooting street photography from my car. You can say it was my day of therapy. It felt really good mentally to be able to get out and feel some sense of normalcy and to get to do what everyone else does… somewhat. I went home and was in pain the whole next day but it was worth it.
I hope that if you’re reading this and you have any limitations from an illness or disability, and a love for photography or anything really, don’t give up. Come up with different ways to live your passion. Life is very short and the time to live is now.