I’ve recently been throwing myself back into various forms of art! Photography, crafting, cosplay, even singing (you don’t want to hear me, I promise). But with the art comes the crazy. A few good words to describe me might be: “overly perfectionist, on-the-verge-of-a-breakdown, wholly un-confident,” or maybe even “my own worst critic”.
Yeah, I think that about sums it up.
Many years ago I remember reading a post by a photographer I admired about how she would never edit her photos the same day she shot them. I remember thinking it was silly. I love editing. It might be my favorite part. I shoot and immediately throw myself into Lightroom and Photoshop. I totally balked at the idea.
But something happened recently. I was busy. Like busy, busy. Like, I didn’t even have time to shower busy. So… I accidentally tested out her way of doing things. After I shot my photos and I had no choice but to put them on a shelf for a few days. When I was finally able to return to them something felt different. Even though I remembered shooting them, they felt new. It felt like I was meeting my photos for the very first time, with the warmest of introductions. And because of that beautiful way of meeting them I wasn’t as critical as usual. I wasn’t picking apart every detail. I was treating them like dear friends, being gentle and working them into their best form.
I realized the time apart gave me an opportunity to forget the struggle of shooting. It let me step back, away from the viewfinder of my camera, away from the uncomfortable environments, and the frustrations that come with shooting, and into the images themselves.
Since then I created new rules for photography! Maybe I’ll talk about those next time. But the most important rule and the one I’m sharing today is to always let it settle.
Always let it settle.
I translated this rule into the rest of my life. When I’m sewing and I absolutely hate my work, I’ve found that walking away and coming back in a few days gives me new eyes. Suddenly I love what I’ve done! Suddenly I’m not obsessed with every individual stitch, instead I can see the big picture, the whole creation. When I’m upset with my loved ones, I know now how important it is to let it settle… to wait until I can see the big picture.
What has photography taught you about life?