Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Stages

LuLa has another one of those easy to write and incredibly lazy pieces on the stages of a photographer. The title suggested that we might be looking at something interesting, since in Buddhism the eightfold path is done all at once, each way is pursued in parallel with the other, and there's some interesting stuff. But nope, Andy just borrowed the name and turned it in to 8 stages.

His 8 steps are mostly pretty OK, to be sure. He coyly claims to be at about stage 6 working toward 7, but he's clearly looking at stage 8. I disagree about "stories" but possibly he means something more general by that word than anything like a literal narrative.

One of the many troubles with these things is that we can't even tell if the intent is to write a personal narrative, or a set of general observations about how photographers tend to evolve, or whether it's a program of development which ought to be followed.

Here is mine. It is explicitly a personal narrative.

Stage 1: Noobibranch

Deep in the depths of the Atlantic Oceam, 10,000 feet down in the blackness and the muck, the Noob emerges from his egg sac. Blind and limbless, he wriggles through the rocky outcropping until he finds his first camera, usually a 1 to 2 megapixel p&s. Adhering this to his ventral surface with mucus, he rises rapidly to the disphotic layer where he feeds on microscopic crustacean life, and develops rudimentary eyes.

He takes a lot of selfies and macro photographs of plankton.

Stage 2: Aerial

Gorging himself on the abundance of food caused by the wintertime upwelling of phosphorus-rich material from the sea floor, the photographer grows immensely, reaching 40 to 60 feet in length in a handful of months and developing vast leathery wings. He leaps, and leaps again, strengthening the muscles powering this enormous span until, in a few days, he takes to the air.

An incredible migration occurs, circling the globe twice and finally landing in Scotland or some similarly picturesque seascape infested region of the world. Here he feeds on the native sheep and takes very long exposure seascapes, until he becomes too fat to fly.

Stage 3: Cocoon

The photographer now builds himself a gigantic cocoon and vanishes into it for a month or more. He takes no pictures at all during this time, to the immense relief of his friends and acquaintances.

Stage 4: Scoundrel

The photographer emerges from the cocoon, in roughly human form, having converted his sheep-fed fat into a skinny mustache and a Leica. He preys on young human women, luring them to his flat, feeding them vegan sausages, and photographing their feet before releasing them, dazed and permanently damaged back into the streets of his chosen city-habitat.

Stage 5: Pundit

He starts a terrible blog and grows fat again on pork products and hubris. Women avoid him. He develops an unpleasant odor. He takes very sharp photographs of the same old shit, reviews ridiculously expensive equipment, and leaves a trail of affiliate links to BHPhoto and Amazon wherever he goes.

Stage 6: Me

Finally, seeing the light, he becomes me. He casts off all weakness. His exquisite taste and perfect working methods emerge, fully formed. He starts a new blog, this one filled with brilliant insights. Women flock to him like children to an ice cream truck, and for much the same reasons.

Most mornings, he limps.