“Discovery consists of seeing what everybody has seen and thinking what nobody has thought.” – Albert Szent-Györgyi
At first, their mamas were excited when I asked if the girls would mind modeling for me. I had a photo shoot idea and thought they’d be a perfect match. Their excitement quickly turned into perplexity — *where* was I taking them? To a flooded strip of forest next to a playground? In the muck? The dresses may get muddy — and wet? Still, these women were such good sports — and so were their girls. I think they let them come along, in part, out of curiosity!
The Hampton Roads area was recently flooded due to a Nor’ Easter. When I took my son to the playground a few days later I noticed a golden patch of light dancing on the flood waters — the autumn leaves bursting in the background. The water was only a few inches deep, but cut like a river through the path. It was magical — and then the light was gone. I knew I wanted to come back — and two days later, we arrived at just the right time. The magic hour. And, the waters hadn’t receded yet.
The quizzical looks (followed by the snickers) of the playground moms and the small crowd that gathered as I shot made me smile:
“She’s taking pictures of those girls in that water?”
“Well, that’s interesting.”
Yes, the doubters.
As artists, we must realize that it’s okay to break convention, to pursue a vision that others don’t see (and never could). To see potential in a group of weeds at sunrise, or a flooded forest path at sunset. Pursue your ideas with gusto and aplomb. Although sometimes you will fail — often, you won’t.
I am grateful for you — my friends and clients (and these mamas) who trust my vision. Who without hesitation, will work in a setting that they don’t understand. I wish the doubters, who looked at the process with disdain and laughter, could see the results. My guess is that their tone would be different.