“Get gout or get out.”

It’s one of Mr. Anderson’s automatic utterances.

 

Gout is a very painful condition caused by an accumulation of uric acid crystals in joints, typically one’s great toe. The common understanding is that an unusually rich diet can precipitate gout. A sedentary lifestyle goes hand in hand. I know a guy who got gout: I couldn’t have predicted it happening to him, though. It’s likely that anybody with a condition for which even contact with a bed sheet is painful would prefer to remain housebound, hmm?

 

 Funny, I’ve never heard of a photographer “developing” a case of gout.

 

Everybody needs to get out more. You think you’re active and you hit all the hot spots, but that M.O. doesn’t necessarily guarantee better results photographically. Maybe an occasional vacation is your occasion for shooting, but that’s perilously close to what Stieglitz scorned when he referred to “Sunday photographers” over 100 years ago. Yours truly has difficulty shooting at baseball games and jazz performances, because his attention is divided. It’s probably human nature to dismiss unsatisfying results because, hey, we were doing other stuff, enjoying other activities simultaneously.

 

Let’s be honest: the only promising modus operandi is to step out specifically to make pictures. The only companions (who likely) will not sabotage the day are those who either are also shooting, or are extremely empathetic.

 

The biggest current challenge, however, is the climate. Maybe this is an inappropriate time to bring it up. More on this anon.

 

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