today is sunny and warm and the sea beckons… students… energy…….burned out….i will head for the beach…..but, i already know what will happen……about 10 minutes sitting on the beach and i will get bored…..working on my tan just does not work….i grew up by the sea, so i do totally love the sea, but i need some type of action….throwing the frisbee or flying a kite or body surfing or volleyball….just SOMETHING, besides just sitting there trying to find my sunblock…

the problem with just sitting there enjoying the sun, is that i start thinking of all the stuff i am supposed to be doing…and , believe me, that list is endless…..the only way for me to relax and forget that list is to be totally preoccupied with watching a frisbee fly through the air…

people i meet on assignment are always asking me what i do for fun….they ask "how do you relax, what are your hobbies?"…….many times people have said to me right in the middle of when i am "in the zone" shooting, "put down your camera and enjoy yourself!….have a beer, eat this food, come and dance" …..well, i must confess, that at one point in my life i did perfect the fine art of dancing with a beer in my left hand and my camera in my right!!

but the truth is this…..when i am working and "in the zone" I AM RELAXING…THIS IS MY HOBBY!! the work, the really hard work of this pursuit of ours is just getting to the point where i can actually be shooting and "doing my thing"…meeting the literally hundreds of people i meet every year who may know what i need to know , driving all night long to find the location  that may not be the location, learning to sleep standing up in airport lines, the endless phone calls and research it takes to find out one little detail, the writing of a proposal to editors, the hours of editing and organizing, etc etc …..THIS IS WORK…..BUT the act of shooting after all of the preliminary "work", is not work at all…this is pure joy!!! 

i have just been told by our workshop staff team that the car is  leaving for the beach with me or without me….i will go….but, i am really unhappy that i forgot to pack my frisbee on this trip!!!…..

14 thoughts on “a day off”

  1. David

    I don’t know how it is in English but we have some sentence: If you fall in love with your work, you must not work…. Or something like that.

    And I have the same problem: “about 10 minutes sitting on the beach and i will get bored”


  2. Hi David,

    I know what you mean by just lying aimlessly on the beach. After a few minutes, it’s give me the surfboard or in your case a boccie ball, or something.

    The fact that you relax while you’re in the zone is one reason you have produced an amazing amount of “work”. Those feelings like magic, almost always come through to the viewer.

    Like yours, my photography is an enjoyable, creative and relaxing process. But unlike you I also have my other interests like growing oysters, bird watching or brewing beer….what a combination. I’ve also been known to leave my camera at home while running an errand.

    By the way did you end up taking any pictures on that beach?


  3. davidalanharvey

    hey mike….

    i have been meaning to ask you about the oyster growing biz…anyway, a combo of oysters , beer and bird watching is a pretty decent combo i would say!!!

    well, as you know, i do take my camera bag with me everywhere…but, i rarely take a picture at mac’s market!!! it is just that in my world travel bit, i get so used to protecting my money , my passport etc, that i have just made it a habit….

    you do have the perfect life down there at obx…the only place i would lean on you just a bit, is too get a good book out of it all….just your very best work….think about it….you could do a portrait/landscape combo that would really rock on….let’s talk about it when i come down…..

    my love to you and denise,


  4. davidalanharvey


    i never look at making photographs as “work”, so my “love affair” has gone on for a long time….i remember when i was very young seeing “old burned out photographers” who seemed to actually “hate” photography….that was all the lesson i needed right there….


  5. David

    That’s why I want work as a photographer, I truly believe that I’ll get old with something what give me a joy to rest of my life. And I think I will very good in this someday, if I will have opportunity of verification my self. If somebody give me a chance. I will work for that hardly.


  6. Hi David- To quote you back at yourself: “The day I stop shooting for myself is the day I hang my cameras up forever.”

    and “I just kinda get a kick out of seeing if I can do it.”

    These are my mantras (mantri?) !

    Thanks for the inspiration.


  7. Hi David

    I know exactly what you mean. For example on my last trip to Vanuatu to do more on the urbanisation story I decided I needed the afternoon off.

    I’d been full on the entire time doing interviews as well as photographing, breaking the ice in squatter settlements etc etc etc.

    That afternoon, sat by the small pool at the hostel and twiddled my thumbs for at least and hour or so. Got stir crazy & had to go back out to take more photos!

    Sometimes I do find though that I’ve just had enough & you’re hitting your head against a brick wall.

    When that happens I take out an A4 paper with a whole lot of quotes from photographers I admire (there’s one of your’s on it!) & read them.

    It works a treat. When you realise that Steve McCurry has to force himself to work sometimes you don’t feel so bad! You get up and get stuck in again!

    My problem is that I write too (for my articles) & find it hard to get a balance between the photography & writing.

    I originally began writing to sell my photos and the writing has taken over too much!!

    Take care


  8. Oh good, a fellow sufferer. I’m begining to feel a bit obsessed myself.

    David, please get started on your camera bags!

  9. That is exactly what joy means to me. Just looking through the camera makes me forget the whole world and feel peace in my heart.

    Love to read your words, David, as then I do not feel so alone.



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