Sit Down and Shoot

As some of you may have noticed, I don’t write in this blog hardly ever. I started out intending to write at least once a week, even relying on aggregating bits of news information that floated across my desk. It was going to be a journal not only of my life with multiple sclerosis, or my life in general, but the way multiple sclerosis has changed the way I look at life. Perhaps the most overarching change is the fact that I find it very difficult to come up with things to write about, and to actually sit down to write about them. Whether that is due to multiple sclerosis, or my inherent laziness rising to the surface, I couldn’t say.

I also post to a photo blog, Captured Light, and tend to do that for more frequently. Most of the images that I post are from an archive, from back when I used to be able to get out and about and walk around the city. I had thought that, when I was diagnosed, it would be interesting to see how the diagnosis influenced my photography. I think that the only real change is that I have been forced to explore photography in a small makeshift studio in my house. I don’t get out and about anywhere near as often as I would like. I’ve never done studio photography before, preferring to photograph things that I discovered as opposed to things that I created. I look at the studio work of photographers such as Irving Penn or Paul Caponigro for inspiration. I have yet to develop the patience or the sensibility to produce work even anywhere near close to the work that they have done. But in the end, it’s better than doing nothing I suppose.

I’ve even tried my hand at painting, but it seems that painting requires even more patience than studio photography. And I don’t seem to have that skill. Both the painting and the studio photography start out amusing, but end up being a little frustrating when I look at the results. Both pursuits just make me yearn even more for the ability to hop in the car early in the morning, drive into some part of the city, and wander around with the camera.

Aside from the shift from photographing in the world to photographing in my little studio, I don’t think my “disability” has showed up in my photography. I’m not sure what I was expecting to find – dark and tortured images perhaps – but so far my “vision” seems to be unaffected. I do make a point of carrying my camera anytime I go out the house no matter the destination. The camera usually stays in my pocket, but at least I have it with me just in case something astonishing appears in front of me. My goal for this coming summer is to make more of an effort to get into the city, and explore what photographing from a wheelchair is like. While it’s been done by artists like Patricia Lay-Darcy, Flo Fox and the Wheelchair Kamikaze, and many others, I’m interested to see what I come up with.

532In any case, between now and then, perhaps I will just begin posting photographs here that I have taken since becoming a non-driving, non-walking person. I don’t suppose there is anything particularly “disabled” about them, except for the fact that I made the photographs after becoming disabled.

And maybe I will actually find myself writing again.


Author: stephen

stephen harris is a writer, painter and a photographer who lives with his family in maine.

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