I was invited to take photographs for a charitable event today. It was the first time I maxed out my memory card and took approximately 700 odd photographs in a span of 6 hours. I didn’t really think of taking splendid pictures, but merely just doing the little that I could offer in conjunction with the event which I have identified with meaningful.
In the midst of the event, I play backed the pictures on my camera to check out the photos which I had taken earlier in the morning. I noticed that some shots weren’t very perfect. Well, actually they were as perfect as they were only that I had expectations that they should or could have been done better if I’d shot at a certain angle, if I’d stood in a position where there was more or less light, or perhaps if the object(s) just wasn’t or weren’t moving that much and etc. At that moment, I was somewhat disappointed with the outcome of the photographs and didn’t know what to do. I was the only photographer there, and the pictures that I had taken and would take further will be the only tangible thing for those who participated in this event to reminisce this day (other than the videography) and I thought how disappointed they’d be if they saw these crappy pictures. Eventually, I decided that these participants, or more rightly kids, deserved beautiful pictures and even though I wasn’t a photo-editing person, I would do it for the sake of the kids, so that they would love their own photos. They do have very lovely smiles.
Surprisingly, when I came home after a tired hot day, coupled with my not feeling too well since last night, I began to blame myself for my inadequate skills for the photographs that I’d taken as I looked through the pictures again; deemed to be of no standard. And the thought arose again, “it’s ok, I am going to edit them anyway”. Suddenly it dawned on me how my mental state and my thereafter intention would determine my direct experience with whatever I was about to get my hands on. The mental state where I wanted to edit the pictures when I got home was coming from an intention of not wanting to be judged or to look bad for taking lousy photographs; and this mental state differed from the earlier mental state during the day where the thought of the kids deserving beautiful photographs of themselves came as priority.
Remembering the innocence, laughter and smiles of the children, I derive joy from the whole effort of my accepting the invitation to play the role of the photographer as it was for them i.e. the photography session, the editing. Staying in my self-judgment state that I did badly and had no professional skills which included a whole series of self bashing up moments thereafter, I would have edited those photos with an attitude of wanting to seek approval from the people who had invited me to participate in the event, even if they were just kids. Yet nothing changes, as the organizers and the kids will get to see what they want to see which is totally irrelevant to my experience. Yet, my experience will be determined by my buying into any current mental state and my conscious or unconscious intentions to pursue whatever that I am about to do. Irrelevant the experience I allow myself, the editing will be and has to be done.
It is indeed important to be aware of my own mental state before proceeding any form of conscious doing; otherwise I’d just be fighting with myself an inner battle within created solely for myself. It may seem as if it has much to do with something or someone out there i.e. the photos or the kids which I could easily point at to put as cause of the ‘war’ within myself, but the truth is what I experience in the moment has nothing to do with anything or anyone. It is wholly my own mind game.
As I went through the pictures again, with the intention to bring out the best of those photographs, their smiles brought a kind of warmth to my heart that there was no way that I could ruin the pictures. If I could feel so much just looking at them in the pictures I took, it would not be possible that they did not feel the same. I would have them hold these pictures dearly to remember the fun moments they had this very day and where Love was experienced. And this would be my experience – serving them, and this brings me joy. And, that is enough for the moment. Editing 700 odd pictures is no joke. The eyes can go bonkers staring at the screen for a long period of time. But the delight derived from merely bringing out the beauty in those pictures am I gratified. Not so because of the photo taking though that is part of it, but simply for being part of that experience, part of their experience at least for that few hours in a day and throughout…