Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sometimes I just don't know . . .

I had the idea for this picture last night. It kept me awake. I got up early this morning to begin it and now I just don't know . . . Sometimes you have to live with something for awhile, revisit it with new eyes, new ideas, and that's the case here. (Click the photo to enlarge it.)

I often have this quiet "knowing" that yes, this is right, this is good. I don't have that feeling with this one. I'm thinking that it's trite, overcooked, overdone, contrived. Looking at it here, it looks darker than I would like. And I think the background competes with the center photo. There's too much going on for my liking.

The concept was a Japanese garden in fall and then the feeling of sliding wooden doors in the background. I used my photograph of trees in Kyoto's Imperial Palace Garden as well as photos I took of various washi papers, antique Japanese book covers and book pages. The original version was a bit too green for me, and so I toned it down to look like this.

Why even show this to you? Shouldn't I just be showing you my very best? Well, no, not here in my blog. I believe we all go through this same process. We create something that seems like a really good idea. We want it to work. But we're not sure. We have doubts.

(And, hmmmm, aren't those doubts what make us artists? Not really. Is "the more I doubt, the better the art?" a truism? Nah. Too simple. I digress . . .)

But if we do not doubt sometimes, if we do not edit, tweak, experiment, practice our craft, and (gasp!) fail, then all we're creating are snapshots. And if we don't experiment and create less-than-wonderful images, then we're not growing as artists.

In the past I've often said that being a good photographer means knowing what not to show. Well, I know I'm a good photographer and a good artist, but, like everybody else, I sometimes have my doubts. Luckily, I have the confidence to show you what might be a less-than-wonderful image, knowing that I will either re-work this concept, keep it in the "works in progress" file, or simply chuck it.

When I was teaching classroom-style classes, I kept a lot of my awful slides and showed them, not thinking of them as failures, but rather as "teaching tools." And perhaps that's what I have here: a very good teaching tool!

[Ah, the value of letting a bit of time elapse between creation and posting! It's only been six hours since I posted this, but man, what a less-than-acceptable picture I created! It's so bad that I'm tempted to remove this entire post, but nope, it's a good learning experience. The lesson? Get more than three hours of sleep AND do not post right away. Not a good image at all! I've created another one this afternoon -- no resemblance to this one -- but will wait until tomorrow to post it. Lesson learned!]

©Carol Leigh
All text, photographs, and other media are ©Copyright Carol Leigh (or others when indicated) and are not in the public domain and may not be used on websites, blogs, or in other media without advance permission from Carol Leigh. Thank you!


  1. Perhaps if the garden wasn't such a high Chroma it would sit betterin the background.

  2. The garden, as pretty as it is, keeps me there. It tugs at my eyes and I can't get beyond it. Agree with Jo. Like the concept. Since you asked:)

  3. waiting to see what tomorrow will bring...


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