So if you can believe it — for those that don’t already know— yes we have reading in photo classes. One of the books we have in my capstone course is Anne Lamott’s “Bird By Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life.” Though a book focused on writing a lot of the lessons can be applied to photography. Most the words could be rearranged, such as: “What’s real is that if your scales every day, if you slowly try harder and harder pieces (photo stories), if you listen (look to) to great musicians (photographers) play great music (shoot incredible stories), you’ll get better.” I thought the author had a lot of great things to say about to get yourself out of a rut, like a writer’s block (or photo block for us). A lot of the time we think to critically of our thoughts at the beginning when we should be open to them; no matter how stupid we might think they are. I think this happens the most for photographers, including myself, when we are out feature hunting and we come across something that catches our eye, but we pass it off, thinking “Oh, this wont’ turn out to be anything probably.” Lamott reminds us that what we photograph doesn’t always have to be good. Which I think is true even for the best photojournalists, yet we come to think that every image that they take is pulitzer worthy or something. Another great insight I got out of the readings from Lamott was when she talked about the getting attention/recognition compared to doing what you want as a photographer. “The problem that comes up over and over again is that these people want to be published. They kind of want to write, but they really want to be published,” says Lamott. Again I think as photojournalists we get caught up in wanting to name recognition, whether it is who we shoot for or what awards we won when that should be more an after thought for thinking about the whether we are happy with our work or not. While these are some of the constructive things I took away from Lamott, her thoughts are completely scattered when coming up with ideas, which she accounts for doing in a few minutes. I’m pretty sure my mind doesn’t work like that. In addition, she makes the note to write down as much as she can into a one-inch picture frame. While this may work for her as a writer, I think as photojournalists our problem is we start too big of an idea and need to find a focus.