show-n-tell

There is really no way I can explain why this blue bicycle lying in the shopping center parking lot caught my eye. Maybe it was the bright color against the haze of the summer morning. Or perhaps it was the sharpness of the bicycle’s shadow. Or, more likely, it was my curiosity. How did this bicycle end up on its side abandoned in a parking lot? I think, too, in the visual memory of my mind, there was the photo, Tricycle, by William Eggleston and this scene reminded me of that famous image.   

In the instant of an impulse, a feeling I’ve learned to honor, I turned off Lafayette Boulevard and into the parking lot of the small Old Greenwich Shopping Center. I snapped a few frames of the bicycle and then studied the light and lines and features of the store fronts and walkways. Early in the morning, the shopping center was quiet and the pictures reveal an almost eerie lack of activity, not so much a getting ready for the day, but more like time standing still. At least that’s the way it felt, in those moments of creative flow.

By the time I returned home and moved the photos from memory card to computer, I’d already begun to doubt myself. These pictures are . . .  [insert negative adjective].

And then I printed them out and laid them on the floor. And every time I walked by, I liked them more and more. “Good” is subjective, but being good at taking pictures is not. Forcing myself to share everything I take has helped me far more than showing only my best work.

One way to get good at stuff is being forced to put out imperfect things on a regular basis.
— Merlin Mann