A man walked into the therapy office of Viktor Frankl and his associate. For years he had writer’s cramp and was about to lose his job because of it. When this writer wrote he focused on perfect penmanship, the most elegant handwritten script. The therapists suggested the next time he wrote to scribble his words so they were nearly illegible. He was told to say to himself, “Now I will show people what a good scribbler I am.” When he sat down to write in a scribbled script he couldn’t. Within 48 hours his writing cramp was gone.
It was a writer’s cramp, only with photographs, a photographer’s cramp lasting weeks.
My delay before going out to make photographs for a project has been a period of neurotic anxiety, what Viktor Frankl might call a time of “hyper-reflection” where fears become inner realities. If I reflect too long I begin to question my intentions, my adequacy, as well as the meaning of life. “Am I a fake? Do I deserve to even own a camera? Can I make a photograph? Why are we here?” I freeze. Sometimes for weeks.
Normally I drive places to make photographs. In a foreign country it’s easy to make excuses of why I should not stop the car. There is not a good place to pull over, the person won’t understand my broken attempt of the language, they will think I am out to abduct their children. I drive without making an image.
My solution for this recent cramp was simple, a bicycle. In the morning haze I strapped my tripod to the back fender, put one camera bag on the back rack and one in the front basket. The cramp is gone.