When things don’t go as planned in my photography, I often think of one of my high school art teachers. He was a kind, avuncular man, and in retrospect, perhaps the most content teacher I encountered in all of my years of public school. I can’t remember his name, but decades after the fact, I can still see his smile and hear his encouraging words, “Well, look at that. What a happy accident!”
I especially think of him whenever I get cross-processed film scans back. For some reason, every single time I pop a roll of x-pro in my camera, I promptly proceed to forget that I’ve done it. So instead of composing my images with thoughts of the distorted colors that will result from my film choice, I craft my images with the notion that color and light will be represented more or less as I am perceiving them.
You can imagine my shock when I open my files to find kooky turquoise skies and neon green and yellow accents in place of the subtler palette I had been expecting. It takes me some time to adjust my expectations to reality and appreciate these photos for what they are rather than be disappointed because they aren’t what I thought they’d be.
But when I am able, after a little time, to cast aside my expectations, I start to appreciate these images for all of their happy accidents. They open my eyes to possibilities I hadn’t even dreamed of when I went out looking to make photographs.
And when I consider that decades after the fact, the lessons of one encouraging 10th grade art teacher are still paying off dividends in my creative endeavors, it opens my eyes anew to the potential positive power of our amazing community.
This month, we at the Viewfinders want to see your community. Who surrounds you every day? What do you love to do together? To sweeten the deal, we are giving away a copy of Bella Grace each week to posts using the hashtags #bellagraceview #viewfindersio and #bellagracemagazine. Then, follow us both at @viewfinders_io and @bellagracemagazine. We’ll be featuring our favorites and announcing our winners on the Viewfinders Instagram account each Friday for the month of December. We can’t wait to see your view!
Keep your eyes wide open,