Monday, October 16, 2006

Look through life's viewfinder

When the mirror flips up, I can't see what's before me. I've said this before. However, today I mean it differently.

I've been busy lately with work, freelance gigs, art and trying to make it from day to day. This takes a lot of time and effort. However, it's never too much.

The mirror flipped up. Nothing more.

Today was my first day of "rest" in a long time. I spent time with Fayrouz. I caught up on some "busy work." I watched a movie and my favorite TV show.

It rained. The rain was mostly a soft wash. It rinsed the dust off the leaves and made the world green again. It gave the plants a rest. They needn't worry about digging for water today. They could relax and drink.

So could I (coffee).

In other words, what's before life's viewfinder today are the colors, hues, textures, shapes and movement. These are taken for granted while the mirror is down. They are there, and we can see them. This is what surrounds us and makes us happy or concerned.

This view only exists today while the mirror is down. Tomorrow is unknown. We can only expect, anticipate and hope for a good result - a "useful" image.

This requires faith. It requires either faith in our equipment or something else.

I don't talk about faith much. It's not my job. However, it's part of how I do my job. I believe what I believe. I ask nobody else to believe what I believe. I don't hold anything against anyone who believes otherwise. This is also part of my job.

Through the years, I've been privileged to meet people of different religious and spiritual followings. I've also been privileged to meet people who follow no religion, nor believe in a spiritual world whatsoever. In short, I'm privileged to meet anyone who welcomes my camera. I can only express thanks for the opportunities through my images.

Throughout life, PJs compose many images. We wrap our frame around parts of our lives and work on the composition. We want to make these images as good as possible. But sometimes we don't succeed to our own expectations. The background is a little messy. The focus is a little soft. The layers don't quite work. The subject moved. This is life.

When we get near the end of a roll of film or are running low on our memory card, PJs are very cautious about when they allow the mirror to flip up and obscure our view. Each frame becomes precious as we know we're about to capture our last image.

The last image should be our best. After all, we're only as good as our last image. This requires patience. This requires preparation. This also requires faith - in whatever.

Why this philosophy?
The mirror is down. It's time to recompose.

I never truly expect my last frame to be my final frame. I understand one day it will be. This is part of the reasoning behind this little blog on the outskirts of the Web. My wish is to compose an image to teach other PJs about the job and maybe help them avoid some of the problems we all face.

While I try to compose an image for pro PJs to understand, I'm also asked to make images for the little ones. One day, they may be pro PJs too. If not, they could appreciate and support the work of pro PJs.

I'm working on images for the little ones (at least for their teachers), and I'll post soon. Not soon enough because there is only now. Tomorrow isn't here and may never come. The next frame might be the last. This would be unfortunate. But, I can only make one image at a time.

How this applies
When PJs are on assignment, they work hard to make a perfect image. Sometimes they are tired, cold, hungry and want to rest. But, there isn't time to rest. Deadline is approaching and there are few frames left.

This is when we must reach deep within ourselves. We must find the strength to make one more frame - the best frame. If we think we have done well and quit, we may not have honestly made the best image. So, we make one more. And then, one more. This is all we can do.

When PJs are the most exhausted, we must ignore the pain in our bodies to get the image. The best image isn't for ourselves particularly. Of course ego has a hand in this process; however, the best frame is what our readers and the subjects deserve.

It could be a subject's only frame. This might be the final frame on their roll. We don't know. It might be the last image on the page for our readers as well. Either way, they deserve the best.

There's still more film
If we obsess on the final frame too much, many delightful images will be missed. Take time to enjoy the process and remember there's more film (or another memory card). If we run out of time, it's fine. We did our best and have no regrets. We can rest after deadline.

Although PJs see many horrible scenes, there is always one beautiful image hiding within it. Find it. This is the challenge for the next roll. There's always something extraordinary to shoot if you seek it and believe you'll find it.

I'm happy today and merely recomposing. I think I have plenty of film left in the camera, but I'm not certain. I'll trust myself, expect the best, and bless the present. I'll try to do my best until deadline - whether the mirror is up or down.

Enough for now,

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