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Monday, 27 April 2015


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Good old (bad old) anxiety dreams. Mine were usually job related, first as a line cook in a steak and seafood place, when as you might expect I dreamed of massive orders, unthawed and unprepped food, and being hopelessly behind. Then as a teacher, dreams of unprepared lessons, nothing to teach, that same hopeless feeling. Never had a photography anxiety dream, so perhaps this means you are a professional.

Sounds like you caught a jet-virus. Here's hoping it's a short lived one.

Camera anxiety dreams ? All of that is a daily experience with me !

I used to have nightmares about plugging the flash into the PC nipple on a Hasselblad 500c body instead of the one on the lens after a photographer I was assisting did exactly that on a remote location shoot with his new-to-him camera. Also some pretty weird dreams that involved changing bags and dark slides.

Ooh. That's terrible, and that's terrible. I hope you feel better soon.

Speaking of simplifying, my desktop computer decided to stop reading sd cards yesterday. I have an elaborate, cobbled together pile of drives with an aging operating system, and I've been giving it the side eye for the last month or so, ever since my import-and-sort software started giving me disk full errors. As my heart raced, I tried refreshing, re-inserting, and rescanning the sd card. No dice. I took a deep breath, thought for a moment, closed all the windows, and shut it down.

It's sat there since, quiescent, surrounded by a litter of tiny plastic memory cards of unknown disposition. I keep all my photos on a pair of duplicate external drives, so I'll be able to pick up where I left off with the laptop.

I'm not entirely happy with that - I like keeping my work unattached to computers that talk to the Internet. But there's a certainty and simplicity to the new arrangement. I know where my pictures are, I have good, reliable, software to browse, edit, and print them.
When I realized that I didn't really have to turn the old computer on again, if I really didn't want to, that I had the freedom to walk away, I felt this wave of relief wash over me. It is good to have simple tools that I trust.

The dream was telling you that the era of film photography is definitely over and also that the time for black and white is over too. You had loaded those cameras with black and white films, no? That was why they were taking away all those batteries, films and lenses, so that you could not shoot B&W. Try harder and you might remember being told to shoot colour. Cheer up, there is a lot of colour around. Get well soon.

Oh sure. The gear, the gear, the gear. Failure is always the fault of the gear, even in dreams. Maybe Homer Winslow dreamed that his brushes had no bristles? Or Jackson Pollack dreamed that he was trapped in a zero-gravity field?

Take care of yourself. You may be paying the price for more direct human contact.

Hi Mike,

Get well soon! I always love reading your stuff!

- Fabio

A dream analyst would likely tell you that your anxiety is about something else, and it's manifesting in your dreams as camera anxiety because that's something that's familiar and easy to relate to and mentally process.

I could tell you more, but I'd have to charge you $150 an hour. :-)

Funny but I was just thinking that getting back to being a photographer is exactly what you should do.

Something about the way you've been writing about your own photography in the posts about working for free and portraiture tells me it's time.

Please don't abandon us, though!

You must be highly allergic to tree pollen.

Those dreams should only serve to remind you how good we have it today. Cameras that always work using infinite free "film" plus auto/through-the-lens focus. And when all else fails you can use your phone.

I'm sorry that you are ill again.

Some time ago you posted a picture of yourself hooked up for a sleep study. Do you have sleep apnea? If so, do you use a CPAP?

That "style" of dream, where there seems to be no end, no resolution, stuff keeps happening, characterize the dreams I have in an OSA episode where the CPAP is just not enough to keep me breathing. (Without the CPAP, the dreams are horrific.)

Get well soon.

All those symptoms added together sound more like love! :-)

If I catch your cold or start having camera anxiety dreams from reading your blog on my computer.....
.....does that qualify as 'Spooky Action at a Distance' ?????

Mike, I'm with you, crook with a bad cold, from what I think is travelling in crowded trains. Another metal tube virus thing. Up at 4am coughing and reading your posts. Was saddened by your loss of Liz after her long battle. Hope you recover soon. Best regards.

Forgot to add, that some of those dreams of yours sound like something in the recent past pulled you back into the 1980s. That lovely photograph of you and Liz from 1986, perhaps.

As a teenager, I had the same dream several times. I was walking between two rows of large but silent machines, in a large building with a high roof. It was very noisy, but only the machines at the far end were operating.

I puzzled over the meaning but I could make no sense out of it. Then I left school and started my first job, in a carpet factory. To get to my loom, I had to walk between two rows of large but silent machines, all as it was in my dream.

Make of it what you will.

I have photography anxiety dreams all the time, and it's always the same thing. I'm shooting something amazing, getting great shots, and feeling really good about it. Then I realize that I'm dreaming and all the shooting is for naught. I usually figure out that if I can just hold on to the memory card or film canister (it switches) hard enough, I will have it with me when I wake up. It's never there, though.

Sorry you're under the weather. This year I had the worst flu I've had in at least five years. I would not wish that on anyone.

Time. It all comes down to the only commodity you cant save, swap or retrieve and none of us can settle the feeling we have lost much and will loose more.

You have a severe case of "photographer's procrastination." Think about what you just said: "Oh if only I was in a different location, I would be taking more photographs."

Location is not an excuse. There are many people in this world how say: "Oh if only I lived in Wisconsin, USA, I'd be taking so many photographs. Everything just looks so boring in Tokyo."

Get healthy, get out, and shoot.

Your dreams are interesting, but not something to which I can relate, as I cannot recall ever having such a dream myself. Of course, until recently, I've never had a camera break on me, so that might change going forward...

I get the dream of a camera bag I left the room without, and when I get back it's gone. Then I wake up, and look over and see it 's right there next to me, and all is right with the world. Why do we do that to ourselves?

I was carrying a camera in a dream last night, but for some reason I was responsible for bringing back (where to I am not sure) a cello in an open fishing boat. Hhmmm. After one of those editing jumps that happens in dreams, I realised I had left the cello on the boat. Returning to the harbourside I found the cello dumped on the quay with some other lost property, but spent agonising minutes trying to decide if the evident water damage was the result of my negligence, or had happened to the instrument earlier. Somehow mixed up in all of this was the fact that it may have belonged to my grandfather (who actually did have a cello). I spent quite a lot of time wading in very clear blue water (up to my knees), taking care not to get my GX7 wet.

Most of my dreams involve having to move house or office without having prepared properly; catching a flight ditto; or leaving property such as cameras (or in this case musical instruments) around and spending hours looking for them.

They all involve degrees of unpreparedness, disorganisation, guilt and negligence.

Sorry you are not well
Radio announcers have that dream all the time - just ask one! With almost the exact same fears you have - no music, no records, equipment not working.... and it persists long after they leave the industry.
I hope your bad dreams do not linger.

When you're better and feel like testing your cameras, why not document the town in which you live. Those places are disappearing.

As Joe said, these anxiety dreams are common in many fields. The acting version was satirized and dramatized rather well in Christopher Durang's "The Actor's Nightmare," which might give you some comfort. It's awfully funny, especially if you're familiar with Shakespeare, Noel Coward, and Samuel Beckett...

In a period, I had a bunch of photographing dreams. And while there were sometimes equipment problems, I also had some pleasant parts with finding very intriquing cameras which don't exist in the 'real' world, and long dreams taking place over a full dusk period, getting numerous very nice pictures. Wish I could print from dreams, see if they were as nice as they seemed.

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