Poagao's Journal

Absolutely Not Your Monkey

Dec 14 2015

Don’t be stupid

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been teaching a photography course at the Zhongzheng Community College, and although it’s been a good deal of work, it’s also been interesting. I’ve learned a lot in the process, not just about photography but about myself, and some of it’s been kind of, well, stupid.

I’ll illustrate this with a story: I often tell my students not to get too upset when they miss a shot, because in my experience you miss even more shots while you’re busy being upset about missing the original shot. Still, I can’t help but rile myself up when it happens to me. Recently I was on my way to my favorite photobook shop, Artland on Renai Road across from the old Air Force base, when I noticed some nice light and patterns on the Lotus Building. I walked around the back and saw a wonderful composition of a woman on a smoke break with her hand just so among the lines of the building amid the plants. Just as my finger pressed the shutter, however, she moved and it because a rather ordinary shot. Then she went inside, the light disappeared, and I was left in a heavy funk I had no right to be in.

Usually the gods will taunt me in these circumstances by with a series of other tasty opportunities to miss, but this time I needed a Proper Lesson, it seems; just as I was stewing over the lost shot, heading down the stairs into the basement where the bookstore is located, I took a wrong step and began the seemingly interminable process of falling down the concrete stairs. Anyone who has fallen down stairs can tell you that it just…goes…on…and…on. Eddie Murphy’s entire comedic bit on the process (“my shoe!”) went through my mind as I waited for myself to come to rest. At one point I felt and heard my camera strike the concrete with a loud THUNK, and I thought, well, that makes sense; it’s just out of the two-year warranty.

I ended up sprawled in a leisurely fashion on a group of potted plants at the bottom of the stairs. I could feel what I hoped was wet sod from one of the overturned pots under me. I ached in various places, but unlike the case of my friend and fellow BMEr Justin Vogel’s recent mishap, nothing seemed broken, and I took a shot with my camera to make sure it stilled worked. A fashionably dressed woman hurried down the stairs, glanced at me, and kept going. “Thanks for the help!” I offered her retreating figure. I must have looked like a drunk, homeless person who has just woken up with no idea where he is. But this, I realized, was what you get when you stew over missing a shot. It’s stupid and a waste of time, and if you get too upset, some wandering spirit will toss your ass down some stairs into a photobook shop doorway just to knock some sense into you.

posted by Poagao at 11:12 am  

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