Knowing no fear

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Once again, I have found myself a predicament all too common to myself.  I have been spending much more time out and about photographing than sitting at my desk and processing the resulting images through Aperture.  In the past week and a half, my lenses have captured the following: a day trip with a few friends to Wisconsin, a no-show meteor shower, a weekend-long local fencing tournament, an IPA and Scotch-laden night out with more friends, a few birthday celebrations, and street photography both daytime and night.  Hopefully, I will be able to write about most of these events, if not all.  Let’s start with the usual: street.

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To be quite brutally honest, I have not been in the highest of spirits as of late.  I had found myself recently afflicted with a rut and lacking inspiration.  The cause of such is most likely multifactorial, ranging from a rather stressful fortnight in the middle of May to a wandering mind unhealthily fixating on the fact that I am a thirty year old man who has been single for over a year now and have not been on a date since.  I am without peer, and that very thought can be rather debilitating at times.  It has only been through a great fortunate that I have such wonderful and supportive friends who have come to my aid in the past few weeks and helped me regain a sense of positive perspective.

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And so instead of sitting at home on a Saturday night moping or drowning my despair in Scotland’s finest spirits, I grabbed a camera with a fast lens and journeyed into town for the night.  I needed to get back to doing what I enjoy and love, and especially something that enabled me to transcend my personal fears and apprehensions.  The esteemed and highly prolific photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt once said, “When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear.”

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It seems quite odd that when I myself have a camera in my hand, I somehow am able to walk down a dark and shady alley at 2:00 AM without hesitation—in the city of Chicago, no less, where street violence is no where near on a decline—just to make a photograph.  Yet, either sober or without a camera in hand, I become utterly paralyzed with anxiety at the mere thought of attempting to approach a woman at a bar to just say, “Hello.”  Despite the fact that an acquaintance of mine was mugged not long ago in a supposedly “safer” part of town, I am willing to take a risk to do something that I am good at, something that makes me feel just that much more accomplished.  Coming home late at night with at least ONE fantastic photograph, despite the risk of bodily harm, is a hell of a lot better than returning from a bar, alone and drunk from having struck out completely.



“We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
— Alfred Tennyson

All images © K. Dao Photography 2014, all rights reserved.