On the road again

If you’re interested in the various facets of the life of one of the worlds top shooters, pick up a copy of: The moment it clicks: Photography secrets from one of the world’s top shooters. By Joe McNally. Joe’s resume is quite impressive, having shot for Time, Life, National Geographic, etc. His most famous work is Faces of Ground Zero – Portraits of the heroes of September 11th.

This book is an easy read and is not exactly a how-to guide on photography. It has a few ‘secrets’, rather techniques, on lighting and how he got the shot. However, it’s really a great book detailing defining moments in his career. It’s filled with lots of anecdotes to get the point across. It’s a very interesting read.

The part of this book that grabbed me the most was a chapter entitled: Choosing is never easy. In this chapter, Joe talks about missing a lot of his children’s childhood. He speaks of his first big assignment with National Geographic, a 4 week trip to Africa. He speaks of saying goodbye to his daughter Caitlin, who was three years old at the time.

He says of his departing cab ride:

I slid down in the seat and began to weep. I wept for her, for me, but mostly because the siren call of my first big story with a yellow border around it was more powerful than the call of fatherhood.

I was floored. Sometimes I have pictures in my head, admittedly a romantic view, of what it would be like to be a globe-trotting-camera-toting-super-photographer, like Joe. However, the reality is not all that sexy, as you’ll find out if you read the book. Most of the time is spent away from home, on airplanes, in modest hotels, in lands far away. Also, most of his shots have very limited time budget, sometimes as short as 10 minutes when photographing the ‘stars’.

What really got me was the personal sacrifice of the photographer and of his/her family. I simply could not imagine missing so much of my family’s life. Perhaps that’s why I wouldn’t be a globe-trotting-camera-toting-super-photographer, like Joe. No judgment on him, certainly. He loves what he does. I just don’t think that I have heart, or perhaps have too much heart for my family, to leave so many times for so long.

So, if you get a chance, pick up the book. It’s a great read. I’m starting to read it for the second time.

SoFoBoMo: Excitement building
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