Monday, 30 May 2011

Rolo Tomassi & my anxiety

I'm just about getting back on my feet and getting on top of all my photography work. I managed to get a load of stuff I shot at the start of the month finished today. It means I can relax a little as it's not nagging me in the back of my mind.

I've been shooting a lot of shows over the last few months for Photo Pit and I've been pushing myself into situations I would never have gotten myself into because I want it to work and I want to be a better photographer. For the most part, it's been good and I'm glad to be pushing myself but it has backfired on me.

I was on Twitter a while back saying how much I wanted to shoot Rolo Tomassi playing at the Relentless Garage and they tweeted me back saying to email them and they'll see what they can do. I emailed and asked if it would be possible to go down and photograph their day (load in, sound check, backstage etc...) and they said that if I wanted to, to just come down and find them around this time.

So on the day I got all my stuff together and went to the venue but the band were running late so I just waited out the back. When Rolo Tomassi arrived they turned up at the same time as the two other support bands. There was probably 15ish people around who were all unloading vans and bringing the stuff into the venue. It suddenly dawned on me that I didn't know which one of the band I had been emailing (as it was a generic band email address). I assumed it was James but I couldn't really see him around to approach and when I did he was with a group of people. I thought about introducing myself to someone else in RT but I was overcome with anxiety and a feeling of dread.

All I could think about was the fact that if I spoke to someone else they wouldn't have a clue who I was and why I was there. The longer I stood there and the more I felt like a massive dick and a weirdo and the worse the feeling of dread got. It's the worst sinking feeling you could ever get.

I struggle really badly in social situations with introducing myself to people in general but if I think they aren't going to have a clue who I am then it becomes almost impossible. Once I get that sinking feeling and anxiety I start thinking:

"How the fuck am I going to achieve anything if I can't do something as simple as say hello? How can I expect Photo Pit to be a success if I can't grasp basic human contact?"

"Why would they know or want to know who I am? I'm not a good photographer, I am a nobody and won't ever amount to anything. I had an opportunity that I consider to be a big one and I've fucked it. I doubt I'll be able to work with them."

I go over all the other times I've been in this kind of situation and think of them all as failures, which brings out every other form of failure in my life. I start self loathing really badly and start getting really depressive. It all becomes one big downward spiral and I just feel so low. At that point, the biggest thing that runs through my head is the fact that I have to get out of this situation as fast as possible.

I started to have a panic attack and had to leave. Thankfully Ben Gibson was in Central London and was shooting the show in the evening so I bailed and went to meet him. I was even lame enough to have a little cry on the tube on the way into town. Ben did an amazing job of cheering me up and calming me down without even realising he was doing it.

It was after this that I realised that most people don't realise how hard some things can be for people or that someone can struggle with stuff that is just natural like social interaction. I'm sure most of this just reads like "BOO HOO" but it is what it is.

The show itself was amazing, Rolo Tomassi absolutely blew my mind and I am incredibly grateful for them sorting me out with a pass and for the opportunity I kinda screwed up.

The show itself was pretty hard to shoot which you can read about on the Photo Pit blog as well as see more photos from it.

Rolo Tomassi

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