I’m back from my travels in Northern Thailand (more on that later). My re-entry day involves A Day of Autism … which might mean going for a long walk, but usually means just watching TV or going to the movies. Today I watched the Olympics and reveled in what it means to be a virtuoso of the body and senses (a distant cousin to being a travel photographer).
I decided to take a break from the exhausting physical exertion of the Olympics to watch The Hurt Locker.
The first words on screen are “War is a Drug“.
I gasped; stopped the movie and thought about this. I was dangerously close to becoming a current event photographer. But I was scared. No, not of combat or unknown harsh humanity; but of the potential addiction to feeling “acutely aware on the razor edge of death”. I was a climber, kayaker, and mountaineer…so this was an obvious allure–a kind of photographic Olympics to the next deadly level. I pulled back from the allure of those intense endorphins. Yet, the thought still makes me gasp.
So it begs the question: Are photojournalist/war photographers in two categories? Ones who want to make a difference (but do they have the skills to survive)? Or, ones who thrive on risk yet have the skills to survive brutal adversity (but still need the empathy?). Or, as I believe, the best possess it all, and then they must also be maestros of photography.
Downhill skiing seems much simpler at this moment.
Back to the The Hurt Locker.. and it is only a movie… but it brings up very real feelings.