Not My Shot

Frankie had brought along his own camera, a digital number with a gigantic lens. Since he had graduated from art school with a degree in photography, my brother was struggling to find a career in making pictures. Social documentary, he liked to say.

He snapped a few photographs of the frozen man until he saw Ortiz go to work. Frankie frowned, backed away and deleted his pictures. “Not my shot,” he told me later, after the publication of the frozen man story caused an international sensation. “What was I going to do with the picture?” Franke explained. “Hang it on my wall? Please.”

From Detroit – An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff


I’ve been feeling Frankie lately.

The imposterness has been creeping in.

Going places where maybe the camera shouldn’t be.

It used to be that I’d worry about my camera at festivals because that is where people get drunk and spill beer all over expensive things. Now I see other photographers at work with cameras that cost more than my car and Media credentials hanging from their neck. These are the ones who are working. The ones who have built up a body of work worthy of media credentials. They are the respectable photographers grabbing content for all the people who aren’t here.

Me? I just want to have a little something for myself. That modern quandary – are we here to be here, or are we here to produce content for some undescribed audience? Will I remember this better if I take it in through a camera? Is all of that research correct? Do people care about photos they are not inside of?

If this is a problem, there are some odd ways of going about it. Spaces that are created just to facilitate user generated content. Places designed to be worthy of an Instagram. Engineered for more likes, more followers, to be in tune with more hashtags.

All I want is my camera. Why do I feel so bad about it?

And, frankly, what is keeping me from applying for my own credentials? And should i get them, where would those photographs go? On my wall?



I publish daily. Don’t miss a thing by subscribing to Words & Images – The Digital Dispatch. It ships Thursdays and will always be free and awesome.

David Pennington
David Pennington

Writing would be great if it weren't the only thing I knew how to do. I publish as much as I can, you'll just have to wait for the rest.  

Analog Food

Barolo is the kind of place you eat at if the architecture of early 90s fine dining appeal to you, but that doesn’t mean the food is any less appealing. Classic Italian with a modern twist. For two weeks a year the entire restaurant shuts down, and the staff travels
Read More
%d bloggers like this: