My friend Leah writes to encourage me when I struggle. She says, “Not every picture needs to be a homerun.” And she is right.
This photo is a near miss, but there is much to learn from the process, even when the result is not is not exactly as I envision. Sometimes the bad pictures pave the way for really good ones.
I like the perspective of life coach Helen McLaughlin. In the most recent issue of Weekly Findings, she explains, “My hands-down favorite reframing exercise is the one where I call whatever I'm attempting an experiment.”
She goes on to describe her next experiment.
In preparation for my next experiment, I'm trying to surround myself (online) with creatives who are particularly generous in sharing their processes—as a way of reinforcing the concept, but also because I'm always fascinated by practice, by the deliberate recording and fleshing out of half-formed ideas, by the frustrations and the course corrections and the pleasant surprises. The outlines, the sketches, the beginnings of collections, the collecting of thoughts—all of that is so much more interesting to me than any finished product. I want to be let it in on the evolution. I want to know the story; even better if I was permitted to witness its unfolding.
I’ve been hesitant to use this space as a place to show my works-in-progress, choosing instead to focus on curating a collection of my best pictures. But there’s a lot going on behind the scenes with practice every day. And, thanks to Helen, I’m willing to reframe my photography as an experiment, and I want to be transparent about the process.
What first caught my eye was the light dancing across the floor caused by the wind blowing through the leaves of a tree just outside the door of this café, SubRosa Bakery. Then I noticed the shoes of the women waiting on line for pastries and bread, one on the right in a snazzy suede boot balanced by another on the left wearing little black ballet flats. I like the shoes in the shadows at the edges of the frame. I like the story that this picture tells, or at least hints at, the space between two people seeking the same small treats in the midst of daily routines. How many encounters do we have like this one in an average day? How many times do we have the opportunity to share a smile, a laugh, a gentle glance, a sweet compliment to connect across the space between?
I am not sure this photograph is a finished product, not sure it is complete as is, but I am sure it is worth showing, as it comes along.