That Was Practice

The most difficult thing about being a perfectionist is always feeling that nagging urge to do something massively different because everything you’ve done up to that point isn’t good enough.  There’s always a better way and you know it, so while you sit at work or commute to the store or spend 3 hours meticulously separating your snail shell collection into categories based on size and color, you’re always thinking about something you could be doing better somewhere else.  It’s an itch on the bottom of your foot after you’ve just put on boots and laced them up; the effort get to that point was huge, but you need to undo everything to take care of a problem that will end up requiring the same effort from before all over again.  It’s exhausting, but you have little choice.  And don’t even try to stomp-scratch that itch.  We all know it never works.

This is my dilemma: I mentioned before about getting a new camera, a Nikon D3200, and how the new DSLR is so much better than what I was working with the last year.  But the problem is I really liked getting all the shots I did before I got the D3200 and now I want to go back and use the techniques I’ve learned and the new technology I’ve acquired to reshoot and reinterpret many of my older photographs.  Basically, I want to George Lucas my originals and rerelease special, updated editions (except no one actually cares about my originals except me, so adding a little CGI won’t be a national news story).  The files are bigger with a better resolution, I’m shooting in RAW format every single time now, and I know how to use the device much better now than when I first started.  The perfectionist sees all the pictures I have taken and says “you can do this better if you redo it.”  I took so many pictures last summer and it’s here again for more photography; now is my chance to try to do better.

I loved redoing this one. I'll never tire of photographing this Art Deco masterpiece. 

I loved redoing this one. I'll never tire of photographing this Art Deco masterpiece. 

So that’s what I’m going to do.  I’m going to reshoot as much of my old photography from the same angles and places as I can while I shoot new, original photos.  I will notice my framing more, I will pay better attention to my shutter speed and aperture settings, I will use the tripod to get clearer images, I will recreate as much of it as I can in order to do the old photographs justice while updating them, and I will be a better photographer this time around.  The artistic eye was there, but now that I’m less technologically limited, I feel like I can do better work all around and I’m really excited about it.  The reason I’m even writing about doing this is because I think it makes sense to be completely honest with myself and others about why many of my shots will look a bit too familiar.  It’s going to look weird when the pictures I’ll be taking end up bearing a significant likeness to earlier work but with a slightly different twist.  It’ll be like when Pepsi changed its logo to the new, asymmetrical one and everyone felt weird and oddly violated (I’m still in therapy for it).  If it’s clear what is happening and the self-awareness is obvious, it’s less embarrassing for everyone.  Or maybe no one will notice and my paranoia is the only thing feeding my perfectionist personality.

This whole endeavor is a huge undertaking, though.  It’s going to be a challenge trying to get all of these pictures again.  So, to make it a little more tolerable, I’m calling attention to it and giving it a stupid hashtag; the #D3200Redo is what I’ll be using for social media.  Don’t worry, it’ll be more successful than Bird Week.  I don’t have to rely on anyone else to help make this is thing.  You hear that, world?  I DON’T NEED YOU FOR THIS.

Allons-y!