Sunday, June 16, 2013

It's rarely the one we think

Sometime within the last few weeks, I had one of those days...the days when everyone wants something and there's not much left to give them. By the afternoon, I found myself wandering through another cemetery, composing and taking photographs.  This time, all I had with me was my cell phone, which is far from perfect on a sunny day.  In fact, many of the shots I composed in my head disappeared the moment I tried to look through the viewfinder, leaving me with a shoot-and-hope perspective that somehow seemed appropriate for the day.

Today, when I finally had the chance to download and study the photographs, I was pleasantly surprised.  Some I liked a great deal; others, not so much.

The intention, for me, is not to work overly hard at composition, but to trust the urge to capture a particular image.  Since I have, over the course of my lifetime, visited countless cemeteries in various locations (including multiple countries and continents), I tend to trust the urge.  If something is unusual or shadows catch my eye or I am intrigued, I take a photograph. Sometimes they turn out well; sometimes, well, they don't.

But what I noticed today, and not for the first time, is that the photograph I am most pleased with is rarely the one I worked the hardest to compose or capture.  In photography, as in life, what captivates us most (if we are honest) is rarely the one we think, plan, or intend.  That favorite pair of shoes we bought on a whim, the book we struggled to get all the way through and then could never forget, the friend we found buried beneath the initial's rarely the one we think it will be.

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