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embracing imperfection

July 5, 2012

for most of my life, i was labeled a perfectionist.

i was able to apply those skills equally across the board:

to my education, housekeeping, parenting (ok, that one’s kind of funny…)

planning, organization–  if i did it, i needed to do it perfectly.

and of course, if i didn’t think i could do it perfectly i simply didn’t do it.

this led to a lot of not-doing.

i bemoaned the fact that i could not approach the blissful state that virginia woolf referred to as

“moments of being”.

my moments always had to be those of “doing”.

my oldest friend and i referred to this as the do/be conundrum.

the good news is that i apparently have overcome this malediction.

in fact, i’ve SO overcome it that i am constantly finding ways to be imperfect.

i’ve actually become good at it.

(although i am still of two minds about this…)

i was reminded of this the other day when my to-d0 list was overwhelming and i decided instead

to play with my cameras.

i realized that when under stress i throw caution to the wind and get experimental.

it’s when i do some of my best work, because i actually learn by doing,

not by studying how to do.

how enlightened is that?!

so, if you’re looking for photographic perfection,

stop reading here.

if you’re feeling experimental, read on.

i recently purchased a lensbaby,

which requires the camera to be in full manual mode.

i’m still a beginner when it comes to aperture, exposure, etc.

so when i snap on the lensbaby, it is experimental play time.

i’m finding that i actually LIKE the imperfection.

i find it artful.

like this glass ball hanging in the window.

and this postcard behind a strand of glass beads.

my windowsill where a broken piece of stemware became an etched glass cloche

for a robin’s egg next to a salvaged bird nest.

window panes covered with photos printed on vellum,

which when seen more clearly are still quite imperfect.

i recently discovered scanography, which is an experimentalist’s delight.

and iPhone apps, while being a tool someone else has devised,

still allows an experimenter to achieve some unique results even when working with ordinary subject matter.

some experiments are not entirely intentional.

we went up to visit the baby horses and work with them a little bit last week.

i got some very unique shots.

i sure hope charlie isn’t reading this post, and if you are, charlie,

you might want to stop now.

see, i had been using the lensbaby.

and yes, i left the camera in manual mode.

(how imperfect is that?)

and i want you to know that i really like these photos.

they are full of motion blur, but the effect is pleasing to me.

in my defense, i’d like to point out that i had an empty memory card in the camera.

because it seems as if perhaps on one or two occasions that was not the case.

and how imperfect is that?!

also, i’d like to say that i intend to sketch from these motion shots, as with the blur features present

i won’t be distracted by all of my attention to detail.


so, there it is.

i am learning (well, as it seems) to embrace imperfection.

and if a little bit of stress inspires creative output,

then i should be in magnificent shape in the weeks to come.

more on that next time.

life is good.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. Charlie permalink
    July 5, 2012 2:31 am

    Hi Janet,

    You know I always read your posts, even if I don’t always comment. I know exactly where you are coming from – the scientist in me struggles every day with the need to be be perfect – fortunately, the Gypsy horses have been teaching me this new concept of “good enough-ish”! I do in fact like the experimental pictures – especially the one of Cormac running along beside Rose, and the one of Meadbh racing down the fence line (with Fintan pacing here in the background).

    Best regards,

    • sassysistersink permalink*
      July 5, 2012 4:37 am

      Hi Charlie!
      Honestly, my first reaction was “OH NO!!”, I can’t tell Charlie that I did this again! But when I really looked at the photos, they grew on me. That’s when I knew that I was making real progress. I consider them as conveying the essence of the horses, it not their accurate representation. Isn’t that what art is all about?
      Or is that justification? I get them mixed up…

  2. July 5, 2012 2:37 am

    i adore every square inch of what you are. seriously.

    [and i adore the horses, too….]

    life IS good.

    p.s. do you really have words on your window panes??

    • sassysistersink permalink*
      July 5, 2012 4:41 am

      Hi Marie!
      The words are printed on transparencies, then cut to fit the panes. It gives the effect of being on the glass. I love using technology in these ways, although I will admit that at first I printed them to use as overlays in journals until I randomly decided to try this!
      And you, my friend, are completely dear and such an encouragement to me!

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