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Where Do I Begin

On the evening of New Year’s Eve I stared expectantly at the electronic display of my television set – when the four red digits turned from 23:59 to 00:00 I let out a little cry of joy. I couldn’t wait to start again, a new year, a blank slate. 2010 proved to be – quite possibly – my toughest year to date, professionally speaking. A lot of hard work on a project I started two years ago, with not a shred of good news. And it ended in a metaphorical bloodshed: it’s as if I had stepped on a boxing ring to start sparring only to meet a heavyweight champion, intent on pummeling my face. Aw, the joys of meeting French commissioning editors and TV executives! I thought that 2010 could have been ultimately redeemed by the extraordinary experience of working as DP on the film Three Days to See (including a film shoot inside an empty MET), but alas, the last piece of bad news regarding my own film came on December 31st at 3 PM in the afternoon. You got to be kidding me, I thought. And so, I welcomed 2011 with a warm embrace and a burning desire to leave my worries behind and make this new year the best it could possibly be.

Throughout these waves of disappointment, there has been one activity that has consistently brought me immense pleasure: photography. Make that two activities, actually: still photography and filming. Changing equipment and moving from a traditional camcorder to a digital SLR camera has completely revolutionized the way I work, allowing me to film in places where normally I would be stopped or asked to produce a permit. Thanks to my small, lightweight, yet mighty Canon 5D Mark II I have been able to gather gorgeous images of Paris and New York City – all the while giving the impression I am taking photos.

In the darkest moments of this past year, I often fantasized about going back to school and train to become a director of photography. The ups: getting paid immediately for one’s work, exercising one’s creativity without the stresses and heartaches of financing a project and putting it together in post-production. I would have actually already enrolled in a film school for a two month intense course, had the costs not been so impossibly high (over 4500 dollars a month for any program in Paris – le sigh!)

While mulling over all this, and a possible change of direction, I have resolved to make photography a daily habit and try to take at least a photo a day. Aiming for the 10,000 hours of expertise that Malcolm Gladwell describes in Outliers. I’m guessing I have at least another 7,000 hours to go, photography-wise. Will certainly enjoy every second of it.

Buon anno a tutti.