I’m no part time dilettante photographer, unlike the bartenders, shoe salesmen, floorwalkers plumbers, barbers, grocery clerks and chiropractors whose great hobby is their camera. All their friends rave about what wonderful pictures they take. If they’re so good, why don’t they take pictures full—time, for a living, and make floor walking, chiropractics, etc., their hobby? But everyone wants to play it safe. They’re afraid to give up their pay checks and their security they might miss a meal.
Being a free-lance photographer was not the easiest way to make a living. There had to be a good meaty story to get the editors to buy the pictures. A truck crash with the driver trapped inside, his face a crosscross of blood... a tenement house fire, with the screaming people being carried down the aerial ladder clutching their babies, dogs, cats, canaries, parrots, monkeys, and even snakes... a just-shot gangster, lying in the gutter, well dressed in his dark suit and pearl hat, hot off the griddle, with a priest, who seemed to appear from nowhere, giving him the last rites.
Many photographers live in a dream world of beautiful backgrounds. It wouldn’t hurt them to get a taste of reality to wake them up. Anyone who looks for life can find it… and they don’t need to photograph ashcans. The average camera fan reminds me of Pollyanna, with a lollypop in one hand and a camera in the other. You can’t be a Nice Nelly and take news pictures.
So, keep your eyes open. If you see anything, take it. Remember – you’re as good as your last picture. One day you’re hero, the next day you’re a bum...