Imagine my surprise when I started my run, iPhone in hand, with a W40 lens and film combination and some time later discovered that each photo I took along the way was taken with a different lens and film combo with no intentional intervention on my part. After some head scratching I discovered that running with the Hipstamatic app open leads to random changes to the film lens combination. When I locked the phone and resumed running, no such changes happened.
At first I was annoyed at my lapse but when I thumbed through the stream, loved some of the resulting images! The first photo below is one of the surprises from that run that I absolutely love. The stark industrial crane and perfect symmetry bring a sense of order to the surreal result.
I loved this surprise so much that I tried to recreate it on my way back. After carefully selecting the film and lens combo, I shot expecting the same result. What I got was the second surprise! And I love it too.
There is a long running argument in photography between those who are proud of how well they can control the photographic tool and those who open themselves to chance and surprise and often throw the “best” tools and techniques of the other camp out the window. As someone who has walked, stood and sat on both sides, I believe they both have merit as well as their own time and place.
As a regular reminder to embrace the surprise in my work and life, I have both of these images printed on metal above my desk in my studio.
All I can say is Embrace the Surprise!
Originally published in Curiosity Quotient by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson on September 9, 2012.
All writing and images by Jennifer Hartnett-Henderson ©2012. All rights reserved.
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