A Bad Day With A Camera

The Idea

I have a dear friend named Ray. He has been my photographic partner in crime for over two decades and it’s hard for me to think of anything related to photography without also thinking about Ray.

Ray in healthier days.

Ray was diagnosed with cancer over a year ago. For a while, he was doing great and then he wasn’t. Now he’s not doing well at all, but that hasn’t stopped him from slinging a camera however he can. In the past week preceding the creation of this site, he was so weak that he took a tumble onto the floor while capturing a shot of one of his favourite subjects through the window a few feet from his chair. He has crawled on the floor to get amazing images of the antique cameras he is collecting. He’s finding light and shadow in his home within the short space he can traverse and nailing it (as usual).

In the past week, I have not crawled on the floor to take any images. I have not looked for any interesting angles or light in my home. I have not gone outside and pointed a camera at anything. What I have done is sit around bitching about how gross it is in the winter and how hard it is to take photos when I should have been paying better attention to my best friend’s travails. Being able to go out and take a shitty photo on a shitty day under shitty conditions when you’re feeling like complete shit is an absolute blessing and one that I need to stop taking for granted.

One of my favorite sayings comes from my grandmother who was also a shutterbug: “A bad day with a camera beats a good day doing anything else.” Which is the truth. The world is always more exciting when explored through a viewfinder. The problem is I have forgotten this advice that I have been so fond of giving others. I also forgot how lucky I am to be healthy enough to be able to go out and have a bad day with a camera.

That’s what I’m going to do. I have resolved to pick up a camera and go out with it at least once every single day for the next year no matter how lousy it is outside or how lousy I feel inside, while keeping this online photo diary of the images I capture. And I’m going to celebrate every good and bad image I can together with Ray for as long as I can.

February 01, 2024.

March 04, 2024 update: Ray lost his fight with cancer and passed early this morning. I will miss him. (Obituary link.)

© 2024 Sean D. McCormick

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