When Christina and I started this sober photography project, i would send her the assignment and she would (spontaneously) send me back her picture. Like, usually the same day. And she was so freaking excited. For the first assignment, I did my picture right away, too. But something happened to me with the bubble picture.
and maybe you can relate.
I suffered from a regular problem of mine. In my Job #1, I am a designer. So (unfortunately) I can imagine an idealized idea of a ‘bubble’ picture in my head, and it was something that I was going to have to stage in a café with a bottle of water, and a glass and a straw, and sunlight, and a piece of lemon. I could imagine the final image right down to the kind of glass I wanted. and the angle of the straw.
So to take a picture in a café, this means I will have to leave my house (!), have a sunny day (!), and have the right background (!), etc. On the day in question, I asked my husband at about 2 pm if he could stop working and come with me to the café to take my bubble picture, because i would feel too nervous pulling out my big stooopid camera, if alone at the table in front of a glass of water.
He rightfully said no, he had to work.
Right there I realized that I do this all the time with hobbies. While I do good work for clients, I know that “good enough is good enough.” Unfortunately I often suck at applying the concept in my personal life. I am typically someone who does things at the end of the deadline period, rather than at the beginning. I’m never late, and I never need an extension, BUT I do (often, every day) wait until things are more perfect.
Should i do the dishes now or after the next thing? Vacuum first or dust first? Like is there a right way to do any of this stuff, so long as it gets done. and for fuck’s sake, it’s an online anonymous photography project that was – at that time – between me and ONE other person, the lovely christina. Yeah, seems like the right time to over think…. not.
I do get stuff done, but i also think first (for a long time) about the right way to do it. the most efficient way. This is useful in my business life. It perhaps has no place in the world of fun.
Faced with a FUN project, a hobby thing, and I pulled out all of my same perfectionistic ideas. And particularly with artistic things (because i’m a designer), I have an idea in my head of what i want the result to be, and I am often frustrated when the final creative artsy-project result does not match the vision I had in my head. Like, I can picture what I want a painting or a photo to look like, but I can’t create it because of limited talent, limited time, or limited patience.
So when I realized that i was having this anti-fun-thought-process about the bubble picture, I emailed Christina and said: “I am going to shoot my bubbles picture TODAY. no matter what. just to begin to teach myself a lesson. I’m glad we’re doing this together. I’m not sure what you’re learning, but I’m learning a lesson about hobbies and perfectionism. Just enjoy it, Belle. stop trying to make it into ‘something’ …”
So I took my camera out for dinner where I was meeting friends. I ordered bottled water, and asked for a tall glass and a straw. It did NOT look like the image i had in my head. And now I have a table of people staring at me. I take the picture, claiming some “photography project,” and then the dinner continues.
When I get home, I open up the image, flick some switches in Adobe, and come up with something I like.
In fact, I like it a lot. I send a copy to Christina AND I wait up late until my husband gets home so that I can show him my bubble picture.
It has, yes, shockingly, turned out better than the one i originally envisioned.
And for lots of reasons, I’m re-learning that HOBBIES are supposed to be FUN and are not meant to be PERFECT, and not every picture has to SAY SOMETHING, and not every bad image is really bad once you whack some Adobe Lightroom on it… I may be also learning that with photography, at least for me, any picture is better than NO picture. and that adobe lightroom can make an average picture much improved.
[*PS if anybody gives a rat’s ass about how adobe lightroom works, i’d be happy to share … or show you how to use free online software to achieve basically the same results…. anyway, lemme know]
and as I wrote in the blog comments a couple of days ago: “… that might be the KEY right there — just do it. don’t wait to be amazing. just have fun … I think as boozers we’ve forgotten about fun : ) it’s *where everything’s made up and the points don’t matter*. Fun is where there is no grade, there is no judgement, there is no competition. It’s when you play Pictionary without keeping score. It’s when you play Monopoly but lend your neighbor money so you can keep playing. With fun, there is no one-upping, there is no monetary gain, there is no impressing anybody. There’s just fun. Yes, and Yes, and Yes!”
Oh yeah, fun. who knew i’d have to re-learn how to have fun. who knew I could learn it taking pictures?
And I got this in my inbox: “I don’t know what I am learning from this but I do know that it is providing a frisson of excitement that is lacking as I adjust to a life without so many bubbles.”
Happy Sunday 🙂
Team 100 update: 110 members, welcome to Sterling (3), Jessica (4), and Noeleen (1). Celebrations for Lynda and Mr. Lynda (90), Whineless (61), DDG (90), Brandy (40), Mr. Belle (60), Katie & Rachel (7), Christina (71), Debra (140), Diane (71), Leah (35), Sam (10), Carolyn (21), Catkin (7), Gindy (71), Tiffany (10), Meka (11), Overndout (7). Welcome back to Lurker M (7).