I’ve been wanting to write about this for a while, but I couldn’t exactly get the words down. I wanted to write about everything: not quite acing (or the opposite of that) at the whole online learning thing; the debilitating fear that comes before starting a project and taking a month or two to conquer it and actually start; the stimulant-free heart palpitations that comes from walking onto a photoshoot location and realizing that it isn’t quite what you had planned. The general feeling of not #winning or not being in the right place. Guilty of fraud basically.
Then it happened. I had been working on a project for a while: an ampersand structured from a coctail glass with a lemon twist. Feeling proud of some the work I had put into it, I shared it with my partner, and in his Germanic bluntness, he replied: “it kinda looks like a shrimp.”
I gave the darn thing a second look and my beloved swoosh of a lemon twist DID LOOK LIKE A SHRIMP. I couldn’t stop laughing. John didn’t ask for a shrimp cocktail and I had given him one. Thank goodness no one has a shellfish allergy.
Cait and I have been learning all summer. But in very different environments. In my case, Katie would probably call it “baptism by fire.” The formal folks would call it a cooperative education. Thoreau has a poetic way of saying it. But then I stumbled upon an old shot I had taken of a particularly deviant lemon and suddenly it dawned on me. This is the shady lemon. It looks a little funny, so you’re not quite making limoncello (because we’re all legal) out of it at first. But give it some time and you’re going to get a perfectly bittersweet elixir out of it. It’s like the time I wanted to reproduce an edgier sequence inspired by these shots…but I wound up with beautiful Alissa bathed in soft and natural light instead. All of these “mistakes” were incredible learning experiences too:
Roberto taught me that with all the hundreds of thousands of photos I would take, only a droplet would come out the way I wanted them to. Jenn is a pro at the less-than-perfect shooting situation. Lessons are coming from every direction. And every day, I am focusing on the one thing I need to whether it’s to finish a project, build this new career or keep me mindful of my own goals beyond work.
I know I’ve got some taste but it’s not enough. My classroom is on the street, my teachers are the wonderful folks in this global community. Though I might not acknowledge it at first, I’m picking up some mad skillz with every shoot, with every interview and every story I’m hoping to tell. And I’m incredibly thankful that you’re all willing to read up on us through this whole ride.
All photos by Tiffany Tsang. Please request persmission for use. But why would you? These are hilariously awful shots.