Now, and I accept it’s far better than the alternative; but growing old seems a painful process. As we ripen, some grow insidiously to the right; for others, myself included, nothing could be further from the truth. However, I am experiencing an equally unpleasant change of view(point). Acutely aware something about me has altered; both physical and metaphysical.
It didn’t happen overnight, but I had a Satori moment when it became pin sharp that I’m not the same street photographer I once was. Shots I once took for granted are becoming increasingly difficult to capture; at the same time I also realised I’m not the man I once was.
I moan, groan and curse, huffing and puffing like a straining cankerous Victor Meldrew with a camera, internalising “I don’t believe it” as it becomes abundantly clear, now that time has taken its toll that what was once easy and instinctive is now almost impossible to achieve. Nowadays, a combination of motorcycle accidents, arthritis and Aldi clotted cream means it’s impossible to ricochet around like a hyperactive sprite I once was in search of “the” shot or those unusual angles.
Copyright ⓒ Andy Blackmore
Once upon a time, when film was king or during the dawn of digital, like some reckless mountain goat I’d think nothing of clambering atop a letterbox or shinning a lamppost. Risking kit and karma to get what I wanted.
Now, even sometimes straining down to grab a lens from my camera bag can be a challenge. Whilst the notion of suffering for your art has been around for a while now, believe me, I do suffer. Sometimes, on those cold damp days, as I cross London Bridge to the desk, I come close to tears, when the nagging pain in my shoulder; a hangover from breaking my collar in a motorbike crash, becomes a raging spiteful ogre.
So, as I age, my point of view gets ever more restricted, and thus this age-inflicted restriction of vision narrows my perspective. Thus, I face a future of doing more with less. As a result, my street photography shooting style is changing, and evolving; most images are shot standing, fewer low, lying down shots and no more of those athletic vantage points.
As to lenses, I’m shooting longer and running around with the wide less. As it’s become clear; necessity is the mother of invention, and so with no option but adapt. It’s time to put up or pack up. Time to embrace change as I attempt to put the fun back into fundamental. My job is to cope, and I don’t have the luxury of failure. Fundamentally, to my core, I am a photographer and Picture Editor.
Thankfully, I possess an elixir and cure-all in that fascination for light and a life photographic. I truly love photography and Picture Editing. All it took was a Covid-induced redundancy with its photographic hiatus. And then a new job to realise how mind-bogglingly lucky I am.
So, I survive a little longer in this cutthroat and ever decreasing universe, again doing daily, what I love so much. So, when I said I’m not the person I once was, I didn’t mean I mourn a passing but relish a new man and his new vision.