In Pursuit of Progress, not Perfection

Once in awhile, the universe decides to remind me to relax a little bit. I’m usually grateful for the lesson, but the latest bout has been tough. No rest for the weary! The last six months or so have been pretty intense for my work and travel schedule, and the intensity has been bleeding into the anxiety I feel for completing house projects and actually taking a photograph or two once in awhile!

towards the manhattan bridge

Speaking of the house, it was really nice to feel a sense of accomplishment after finishing the last project. Even if it was as superficial as painting a wall, rearranging some furniture, and adding a little drama to my day. As I hoped, it’s starting to inspire me to plan more fun projects for the house! (Is that some sick self-therapy, or what?)

But with photos, I was feeling a little lost. I recently got back this roll of film from the developer, and when I looked at it, it pretty much summed up my recent frustration. A whole roll of film, painstakingly shot with the old Leica, ruined when I opened the back of the camera to exposed film. And these light leaks, only discovered after wasting an hour scanning the roll. Ugh.

The more I stared at my mistakes though, the less I was bothered by them. In fact, I kind of love the photos and their crazy streaks. In other areas of my life (my job, my renovation), I am happy to pursue steady progress and iterative change until I’m happy with the end result. Why was I not expecting the same of myself in my personal pursuits? Maybe I just need to cut myself a break and embrace the splashes of light.

If anything, film has forced me to slow down, to think more about the process of making my photos, to select my materials carefully, expect ever-changing results and LEARN from them, good or bad. It really is an experiment — testing not my artistic perfection, but my patience and perspective.

And who knows? Maybe I’ll remember next time not to open the back of my stupid camera.

cadman plaza

albemarle terrace

church of the holy light leaks