Perspective

Today is one of those many days I've had lately where I'm full of mixed emotions - and where I possibly got something very wrong.

I'm literally at a conference that I've covered for the last three years (well, it would have been four if not for COVID.) For this conference, I'm "just" a photographer. There are other writers covering each session.

The first year I worked with this media outlet, I knew nothing about working with a newspaper - at least not for something like this. This is one of the biggest events that this media company covers each year - and that first year, I was the only photographer. I didn't slow down for a moment all three days. If I wasn't taking pics, I was culling and editing... and editing again because I second-guessed everything I did then (now I just second-guess about half of my editing. Sigh...)

This year is really different. I was really upset and felt extremely slighted when I was told that I would only be needed for the first day of the conference. I asked about it and was told it was for budgetary reasons and that they would be using staff members to take pics the other two days.

Then I found out that another photographer, one who has been freelancing for them for maybe a year, was asked to work all three days. 

I was so hurt and felt incredibly rejected. 

I'm getting older and I have a lot more physical and mental issues than I did four years ago, when I ran around all over like this newbie is doing now. I recognize this. 

I can't kneel to not get in someone's way when I'm shooting. I have to shoot from the side. 

I can't run up to the balcony to get an overhead shot. (I can make it, but can't "run" anymore). 

For those who understand spoon theory (https://www.healthline.com/health/spoon-theory-chronic-illness-explained-like-never-before#1), I know I only have a  set amount of spoons each day and they vary day by day. I can't use up spoons at the beginning of an all-day shoot because I might not make it to the end of the day.

Even knowing this, it still hurts. It hurts to be replaced, especially when it is while doing something you love and are passionate about. 

But after starting today, I realized a few things that my hurt feelings hadn't let me realize... I may have it all wrong. Instead of being slighted by cutting back on my work, the one in charge may have been giving me this assignment as an honor and as a loyalty thing. 

The newbie could do it all without me - and I know I can't anymore. Right now, as I'm writing, he's kneeling down in front of the front pew to get some pics of the speaker. That's not even a possibility for me now. Add to that, he has a mirrorless camera which means he can shoot with no noise (shutter clicks) or noise (in the pics).  

This media outlet easily could have gotten by without me here. In other words, it's very likely that they gave me this assignment because they like me and my work and not because they "need: me. It's possible they are letting me work when it might been better to cut me out completely and save the money they will be paying me.

I feel a little guilty that I'm here making this much money for this little work. I keep checking the schedule to make sure I'm not missing anything. Instead of trying to get twenty angles of each speaker/performer, I get a few from one or two places and quit. 

I'll admit - there's a part of me that's concerned that if I don't run around and try to make sure I have much better pics than him, he'll edge me out completely. However, that could happen even if I bust my butt today. I choose to get good pics and leave it at that. God will have to take care of getting assignments in the future.

Anyway, I'm writing all this to say that maybe it wasn't that the person doing the assignments was being mean... but just the opposite. She might have actually given me day one because she respects me instead of taking away days two and three because she doesn't. 

I don't know if it makes sense, but it's a game-changer in my head. 

Sometimes it's all a matter of perspective...

(Also, I realized that the newbie could potentially be doing this for free - for the experience. I did similar things when I started out. The thing is, I don't know and maybe I don't need to know. I just need to do my best and let the rest work out.)

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