What is more important, the means or the end?
I’ve been wondering what matters most: The end result of what we’re working towards or the means by which we get there.
In terms of photography, this question often drifts into my mind as I’m processing images. I often question how much processing is too much. Is there a point where as a photographer, I can become too reliant on raw, Lightroom and Photoshop to produce the end result. It’s often an endless debate with myself that has no conclusion. I came across this quote from Abraham Lincoln which sparked my thinking but it also brought a line of truth that really struck a chord with me;
‘If I were to try to read, much less answer, all the attacks made on me, this shop might as well be closed for any other business. I do the very best I know how, the very best I can, and I mean to keep doing so until the end. If the end brings me out all right, what is said against me won’t amount to anything. If the end brings me out wrong, ten angels swearing I was right would make no difference.’
Thinking about means and ends brought me to honesty some reason, at a deeper level they seem interconnected. Honesty meaning; displaying integrity and being truthful. I’ve found that being honest with myself is the best technique and method I can use to achieve the desired balance between means and ends. Only we know what we believe and whether or not we’re honouring it and how truthful we are being to ourselves. Thomas Jefferson once put it as honesty being the first chapter in the book of wisdom. When I’m out shooting a scene the first thing I look for is how I want the end result to look and the second is how I achieve that.
The speed and pace that we seem to live in these days is just getting faster and faster. Decisions need to be made quickly and they all appear to be important in some way, shape or form. While I was out looking a for composition recently it dawned on me that I was searching for something, rather than taking in what was in front of me. Honesty, wisdom, means and ends all seemed to be forgotten in the desire to get a task done. What I need to be able to do was switch my brain off, to slow it down, completely change my mind-set or adjust my state of mind.
A mind-set is a powerful thing. It can encourage us, influence us, persuade us and even stop us from doing things. It can have a big impact on the decisions we make and how we make them. So the question is, what is the best way to achieve a change in mind-set (or slow brain time) so I don’t miss those exciting compositions that a photographer can wait days to capture.
While wandering up a creek at Bathunes Gully, I managed to change my mind-set and switch to slow brain thinking. All of a sudden a more meaningful composition formed in-front of me. It became more about seeing creative beauty than following structured rules of composition. I can honestly say the resulting photography was created from a focus of means rather than ends.
Every idea needs some cosmetic surgery and every idea has a beginning, a starting point, a birth if you will. While some ideas gain life quickly, they can also drop-away just as fast while other ideas gather momentum. Then there are the other set of ideas, the kind that gain life but need to go through several redrafts before it finds it’s true direction. Thoughts and ideas tend to stumble along until they find their balance, rhythm and timing.
My blog site until, now has been one of those ideas that has ticked away in the back of my mind, slowly stumbling along until it found it’s own balance. While the equilibrium still isn’t quite right, it’s almost there. It’s undergone some cosmetic surgery recently and there is still and few minor changes to happen (mainly with menu’s and categories) but I’m really pleased with the ‘new look’. It just ‘feels’ a lot more how I want it to feel.
I’ll have some new content in a short while, so I’ll see you again really soon.
This is not the photo I had in mind when I started the day. The plan was to take the coast road to work and sea the sun coming up over the ocean. Fog changed that but brought with it new and interesting dimensions (that included driving) that enticed my mind. On the way home however I couldn’t resist a detour just off the main highway where I found a silent sun setting over the corner of Flag Swamp and Jefferis Road.
Constructed between 1878 and 1886, as funds permitted, this Gothic revival style Cathedral in bluestone was designed by Francis Petre, who also designed the neighbouring St Dominic’s Priory. The first church service was held in the cathedral, in February 1886, and was completed in May 1886 at a cost of £22,500.
The decorations and church furniture for St Joseph’s Cathedral were carved by L. J. Godrey, brought to New Zealand by William Larnach to work on his “castle”, which was also being built at the time.
I had the pleasure to venture on to capture Kapiti Island for a day with Bryn Evans and explored some of the amazing sights and sounds there. One of the tracks makes its way up through and past the Okupe Lagoon and Valley, where you are accompanied by Tui, Bellbird, Weka, Kaka and Kereru.
Every so often the scene is broken and through the Kanuka trees you spy the world beyond, fantastic.