I walked into my office in the Grohmann Museum on MSOE’s campus the other day and really liked the golden autumn glow of light reflecting from the locust tree outside my window. Especially appealing was the correspondence between the dead leaves of this student artwork (a dead birch tree branch, wrapped in copper wire, then “planted” in a pot) and the dying leaves just beyond.
Whenever I’m going about my daily life and see something arresting, I routinely take a picture with my phone.
This time, as I looked at the image I’d just captured, I was less than enchanted. Hmm, a little crooked. But no worries. I could just use my phone’s editing features to straighten it up so. But that edited version was less than satisfying.
Was it possible that the less-perfect original was better?
I decided to get my daughter’s opinion. After examining both versions, right next to each other in my camera roll, she also selected the original, unedited photograph.
Isn’t it funny how sometimes the more we try to fix something the less we like it in the end? The first photo captured whatever “magic” I saw. When I tried making slight repairs to touch up its imperfections, I was left with something that was nicer but was no longer as compelling (to me, at least).
Songwriter Leonard Cohen said it beautifully in “Anthem”:
Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering.
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in