The Other Side of the Lens

Like a proud parent who refuses to find fault in her precious child, I often have difficulty seeing the flaws in my work. I put an incredible amount of time, effort, and love into my pieces, and just like anything that is too close, it’s hard to identify the problems– even when I’m staring right at them. Issues with perspective, proportion, and value are bright red flags, but if I squint hard enough, I can fool myself into believing those “red” flags are closer to maroon or burgundy–nothing to really worry about.

I’ve tried all the artist’s tricks for finding weaknesses in a work-in-progress: study its reflection in a mirror, view it from across the room, look at it upside down–but I’ve found nothing shows the imperfections more honestly than a photograph of the piece I’m working on. Suddenly, the red flags are flying and my drawing issues are undeniably crystal clear. Sometimes I know just what to do to fix them, and other times I realize I need to completely scrap my project and start all over again.

I’ve heard people say “the camera doesn’t lie,” and when it comes to my art, I’ve grown to trust the lens. The camera shows me the flaws I couldn’t see, and those I didn’t want to see. Wouldn’t it be great if the camera could warn of problems in life? A troubled child, a restless spouse, an unhealthy relationship–all showing up in a simple snapshot. Maybe we should study our photographs a little more closely. You might be surprised what you find on the other side of the lens.

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