The best moments of creativity are the unexpected ones. I've been doing a lot of photo editing lately, especially for jaunts where you're taking a ton of photos, the shots aren't totally planned, so you're just snapping away. Sure, there's a lot to delete (thank you digital medium), but it's surprising what shots end up catching your eye, and they're inevitably ones that are total happy accidents.
I was watching the Christopher Kenneally documentary, Side by Side, (yes, the one narrated by Keanu "whoa" Reeves), which is a really great contemplation over the process of filmmaking, as well as a comparison of digital vs physical film as a medum. I could empathize with the passion of the photochemical film cinematographers, but I found myself nodding when the movie directors talk about how wonderful the digital medium is, since you can get so much footage, more spontaneous material, and get immediate results, no need for the processing of physical film and waiting nervously for dailies. It got me thinking about still-image photography, remembering what it was like to develop negatives by hand, do the delicate dance with somewhat dangerous chemicals, and then play with light, exposing the photosensitive paper to whatever your negatives captured. It was exciting to be a part of every step, but also somewhat nerve-wracking. The photo you want only existed in your mind, and you just hope your settings put that image on the negative, and that your exposure time would translate that negative to a positive on a print. Photography felt more carefully composed when you were dealing with actual film and fairly expensive materials; it was cost prohibitive to take hundreds of photos in a short span, shooting willy-nilly. It caused me to put photography aside for a long time, when film processing just became too expensive.
But then digital cameras came about, and the DSLR cameras became more affordable. A love was renewed. For all my control-freak behavior, photography is a freeing experience. You literally chase the light, dropping everything when you see the right conditions appear. And with digital cameras, you're less timid -- I've happily shot hundreds of photos within a staggeringly short period of time, rapidly adjusting settings and "gimping" -- quickly checking the shots in the preview screen. And I think it's the happy accidents, the photos that were light tests, fool-around shots, or ones where the subject wasn't doing what you intended them to do -- those are the photos you fall in love with. Photography can be an art that surprises the artist, and maybe that's why I love these Happy Accidents so much. They're a reminder that you hold the power of discovery in your hands.
Jaunty Fine Print: Photos by Denise Sakaki