Every time I finish a DI session, I’m torn between feelings of ecstatic satisfaction and utter dejection over what I’ve done.  Is anyone ever completely happy with their work on a given project?

            The vast majority of my colleagues agree: There’s always something – or a number of somethings – that we’d like to go back and re-do, only better.  This should be no surprise.  If we’re not learning, growing and developing a more sophisticated understanding of what we do, we’ll be left behind very quickly.  It’s also endemic to a certain restlessness that exists within our souls.  Even on the best of days, with perfect light and the elements in exact alignment, we still seek reasons for discomfort.  We’re always yearning for that further level of achievement that’s out there, somewhere.  As indefinable as it is, we also know we’ll never reach it.

            Fortunately, for fans of cinematic imagery, I haven’t noticed that this stops anyone from trying!

            Legendary photographer W. Eugene Smith sums up the irrational compulsion most eloquently:

            “Never have I found the limits of photographic potential.  Every horizon upon being reached reveals another beckoning in the distance.  Always, I am on the threshold.”


3 thoughts on “DON’T YOU AGREE?”

  1. I love this post Richard. It sometimes takes me a full year to really like some of my own work, no matter what others say about it. Over time I have learned to celebrate the wins it took to get it done as much as any “perfection” in the result. Eugene’s quote is a fantastic comment on what I truly love about this craft. The process and the potential “beckon”. If it were all figured out and perfect I’d be board and find a way to push it over the edge again…

    – Chris

  2. 100%.

    And then I have to remind myself that my accomplishment for that scene was making it look as good as it could while we still make our day – and not having the director have to lose the whole scene to the detriment of the film. I always forget that adding that last light or negative fill to a shot is a great thought in hindsight, but on the day we were already pulling off a miracle of getting the shot in the can in the time allotted.

  3. Completely agree. The best moments are when the image in my mind is equaled or, praise the heavens, is exceeded by the one I’ve managed to achieve. The rare and ephemeral nature of the accomplishment is the carrot at the end of the stick.

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