Clarity Is Overrated

Parking Meters Project


“Character is more important than being sharp,” said the interesting idiot (that would be me).

A lot of people have complimented me on the photo above.  I’ve even printed it for someone to hang in her living room.  I’m not sure what it is about the photo.  Maybe it’s the perspective…maybe the colors…maybe a mixture of a bunch of things.  Whatever it is…it seems to draw some people to it.  But if you really look at it, it’s not really in focus. It was taken on slide film (Kodak Ektachrome 1600) with a manual camera (Nikkormat EL2).

I was conversing with some photography friends, bemoaning the fact that the digital revolution seems to have brought sharpness and clarity to the forefront of what people look for in photos.  Everyone wants things to be crystal clear…no blurriness or fuzziness at all.  Seems like whenever clients or anyone looks at a photo now-a-days, the first thing they look for is sharpness.

There’s a great quote out there that says, “Every time someone tells me how sharp my photos are, I assume that it isn’t a very interesting photograph.  If it were, they would have more to say.”  ~Author Unknown

It’s gotten me to the point of working with film again.  You just can’t beat the grain and character.  I’ve even started to get heavily into polaroids.  I’ve picked up three polaroid cameras in the last week. (Posts about polaroids to come soon!!)

Some people have asked me what I was thinking when I decided on my yearbook quotes.  I jokingly claim to not know.  But the truth is that even at that age, I never wanted a life of comfort.  I didn’t want things to come easy because I knew that it’s amidst struggle and pain that we really grow as people.  When you’re hanging on for dear life…in those moments when you want to just die or not exist (and I’ve had many of those moments), that’s when you really learn about yourself, about life, and about God.  You learn what you’re made of.  You learn how weak or how strong you really are.  You learn how you need to grow.  It’s the only way you develop in character.

If I were to have another quote to live by now, I’d probably pick something similar.  I’m still not really interested in a life of comfort.  Comfort lulls you to sleep and apathy.  Give me a life of hardship.  That’s the only way I’ll really grow to become the most of who I can be.

I think we as photographers, photography clients, or people who appreciate photography, need to relearn how we view photographs.  Clarity is about technology.  Character is about emotions and people.  Clarity comes and goes.  Character…character stays with us.

Parking Meters Project

Had a problem with the chemicals while developing the film. Ooops! Still, some people really like this photo.


Parking Meters Project


Ilford Delta Pro 3200


Photo was taken without looking through viewfinder as I was walking away.

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