Surely if the Government sees it fit to put health warnings on alcohol and cigarettes they should do the same for photo equipment and surfboards? I don’t like the cancer warnings on cigarettes but enjoy the alcohol one that implies that if I drink this I should not ride my bicycle. This timely warning has surely saved from me much pain and suffering and I have managed to avoid riding my bicycle while drinking for most of my adult life.
Yesterday was another day when a warning could have helped me. A nice storm had hit our part of the coast and before I knew it I was trying to walk along the beachfront in a dignified way while carrying a rucksack full of photo equipment, heavy tripod and my long lens. For once there were many surfers bobbing in the sea – I sometimes wonder how much petrol is wasted by surfers looking for waves and photographers looking for something to photograph. The waves were good and I spent some 3 hours photographing the surfing and trying to catch a wave called Baked Beans properly. This of course meant that I did not concentrate on one thing only, but it worked out ok in the end.
When I got home I ignored the dogs, family, partner, domestic duties and bicycle and loaded up the pictures. It was good!
Then of course reality set in. Years ago I fell off a bicycle (without the help of alcohol) and broke a bone in my shoulder and that together with 3 hours of holding a long lens still in a howling gale (and carrying all the stuff) means that my shoulder won’t move this morning. Everyone knows that surfers don’t buy pictures and that I have re-supplied all their Facebook pages with profile pictures free of charge. As someone who lives off the proceeds of photography and writing this is not good. Looking at the pictures I realise that the surfers have problems too. Most of them sat bobbing on the water with a toxic board between their legs (surfboards must have toxic chemical hazard stickers) for some 3 hours without catching a wave (I wont mention the names of those who had more than their fair share of the waves). They also have no idea what those fishing boats are dumping in the sea or what dread sea creatures they are attracting.
So photography and surfing is lose/lose all the way and I don’t know who lost the most. Sitting on something toxic in the sea for any length of time in a strong wind is bad. Standing in a howling gale for any length of time is equally bad, especially if you bring the wear and tear on your equipment and body into account.
But then life is tough in Africa. If I market the pictures correctly and use the pictures of the wave called Baked Beans correctly I might just earn something. If I write about the experience and bring in the techniques used to capture the images I might have another article ready for publication. The surfers, despite their suffering, enjoyed the waves they caught and fresh air and salt water never did anybody any harm.
Perhaps there should be a sticker attached to all cameras and surfboards indicating that the products may enhance your lifestyle and creativity and get you into the great outdoors? Don’t know; I will have to think about this. Maybe freelance photography and writing is not that bad after all!
* This is a very versatile blog and you can attach the health warnings to anything that is affecting your life – if you are a pet photographer, you can stick the warning sticker on your dog, if you are a glamour/nude photographer you can personally stick the warning stickers to…………