I love photography. When I got my first camera—a cheap point and shoot—I thrilled to the new world of possibilities. I took it everywhere and captured a lot of memories, till the day it fell against a hillside rock and failed me forever after.
Then I upgraded to a bridge camera with more options and a much greater built-in zoom. This was my pride and joy for years, though eventually my skills outgrew it as well. I wanted something that took the photo as soon as I pressed the button.
Eventually, I got a DSLR. It was good quality, fast, and presented a huge learning curve. Just what I wanted. No more missed moments. Or so I thought.
As I learned more, I became ultra-concerned about getting perfectly in-focus photos. I kept searching for ways to always get sharp photos. I’d frantically change settings hoping for a better result, often taking my eyes off the events unfolding in front of me. I’d be frustrated even if I captured what I wanted but the result was anything less than perfectly sharp.
Then one day I read an article by an eminent photographer. He said something profound: “Photography is about feelings, not technical perfection. It’s about showing the emotion you felt at a scene to your viewers, not just showing your skill at controlling the camera.”
Suddenly I understood that it’s really not about the settings, the sharpness, or even my skill. It’s about telling the story. Amateurs want their images to be perfect. Professionals want their images to be poignant, to make an impression.
In our lives, we strive to get our hair, bodies, phone, car, job, food, relationships (and the list goes on) in perfect shape. In the process, we often overlook the joy of life itself. We should use our skills to improve our and others’ lives. But we don’t have to become so focused on overcoming life’s imperfections that we don’t savor the moments all around us.
Life is a massive collage of innumerable moments every day. Does it matter if every moment is perfect? Does it matter if any moment is perfect? Not really. They’re all a part of the big picture, and it wouldn’t be complete without even one. So don’t hurry through life, purging moments from attention or memory because they’re “lacking” in some way.
Let’s take time to stop when “we don’t have time.” Let’s take deep breaths when we’re stressed. Let’s live lovingly even when we’re treated badly. Let’s create a life that others will look at and be encouraged by. We can’t always impress those around us, but we can leave an impression. We can be poignant.