As I held shadow-clearing and brightness-raising boards during my daughter's headshot shoot, watching carefully as the photographer assessed whether I should change my holding angle and whether the boards were doing what she wanted, I thought a lot about how many times I'd seen lighting directors make similar adjustments for light and shadow, yet had never really internalized how it was that they accomplished what they accomplished. Though we go through life acquiring all sorts of information without even being aware of it, we also go through life not absorbing the things around us that are just taken care of. We may know well the things we know, but we fall short of knowing more because we are so focused on our own pieces of knowledge.
There's nothing wrong with specializing, or leaving things to the
experts, but I was reminded today that there is always more to learn, if
we keep our eyes open. There is always more to know, if we remember
that knowing someone else's specialty can only enrich our own. There is
always more to discover, if we look in more directions than just
straight ahead. I don't have to be a professional photographer to
benefit from knowing about lighting. I don't have to be an electrician
to benefit from knowing how things connect. Each skill or subject I am
open enough to learn enriches the ones I think I am after, so learning
them can't help but enrich me and my own process.
I was glad to be a small part of creating my daughter's photos, and at
the same time, learning a little something that could help me down the
road. That's just how it is when we keep an open mind.