urban exploration and the beauty in imperfection
Here I am, once again, with fingers poised on these little black keys, waiting for words to flow. But I feel like a leaky faucet. Drip, drip, drip, drought. I haven’t really been present on this blog for quite awhile. And it’s not for lack of stories, it’s not that the ink is crusty at the bottom of the pot. The cup runneth over with ink, people. I think it has more to do with the quest for perfection, which, as we all know, is where words go to die. So I stop myself short or I write and reread and edit a post ad nauseum so that all that is left is bare bones, osteoporosis of prose cracking under the pressure.
The lovely Jen Lee asked us during her Truth & Consequences class to think back to the last time we wrote freely and what happened to make the flow stop. I sat on the dock with the sun casting diamonds on Squam Lake and I thought, and thought and thought, waiting for the aha moment. And it came. It seems to me, and the irony does not escape me, that I stopped writing freely when I started blogging. The last time I wrote with abandon was when I lived in Nelson, BC. Granted, I was a hippie at the time but there was also a collective sense of freedom in those mountains, an escape from the conservative corporate world, a mold sometimes so rigid that creativity feels stiffeled. Maybe it was my carefree 20’s, maybe it was a laisser faire attitude in a place where notbody expected me to have my shit together. Or perhaps it had to do with the fact that I was spilling my guts in a cheap dollar store notebook and not online for all to see. Because you see, as much as I’d like to think that I’m writing just for me, I actually invest a lot too much energy caring about what other people think of me.
And then Kristen sent me this link and I have been obsessed with Vivian Maier ever since. She was a street photographer from 1950-1970. “A French socialist, a feminist, a movie critic, and a tell-it-like-it-is type of person. She wore a men’s jacket, men’s shoes and a large hat most of the time. She was constantly taking pictures, which she didn’t show anyone.” She didn’t show anyone. This, and the fact that her street photography is pure genius, struck a major chord. This woman was not taking photos to impress or please or seek acceptance & attention. She was doing it for the pure love of the craft. Such should be the basis for all our creative endeavors, going back to the root of why we do it in the first place regardless of how much money it will put in our bank account or how people will view it (good and bad). There is so much more freedom in the creative process when you can ignore the critics and let go of the perfection of it all. Pfffferfection is what I intend to call it from now on. Utterly overated.
So, for the sake of caboshing the head of the perfectionist beast and inspired by Ms. Maier’s work, I sifted through photos that I took this summer as I explored my fair city. I chose those deemed not good enough to make the cut – the blurry, the overexposed, the underexposed, the crooked. Those that represented something urban or candid or raw. And then I desaturated them because there is something about black and white that is very forgiving. Perhaps because it appears from another time so we half expect the imperfection and find beauty in it. I encourage you to do the same. It was a fun and liberating exercise. Find the artistry in those shots you would normally flush in the recycle bin. I’d love to see them if you wish to share.
And on that note, I’m pressing publish. This post is good enough. And PS. So are you!