I read an article a while back about Johannes Haushofer, a professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton University who wrote a rather unconventional résumé: rather than tout his accomplishments, instead he listed his failures.
“Most of what I try fails, but these failures are often invisible, while the successes are visible,” Haushofer wrote.
That rings especially true in our age of social media, with its constant stream of images and posts. It’s easy to forget that those posts are highly curated, and that for every beautiful image we see there are likely a hundred crappy ones.
But wouldn’t it be refreshing if we occasionally set aside our polished highlight reels, and shared something a little bit more real?
In that spirit, today I’m abandoning my hand-picked travel photos to show you a shoot that went horribly wrong.
It wasn’t a professional gig, thank God — I simply wanted to make some nice portraits of my friends’ cat Rocky while I was cat-sitting.
I began with the obligatory Google search for “pet photography.” You know, for inspiration.
Seems simple enough, right? In actual practice, it was much more complicated: ROCKY WOULD NOT SIT STILL.
First, he was twitchy as he stalked the squirrels.
Then he flopped around on the floor.
Finally, he got back on the table and threatened me with death.
And when none of those performances elicited the petting he so richly deserved, Rocky began head-butting my camera.
Covered in fur and cat spit, I finally convinced the animal to cooperate. Alas, even my best efforts fell short of the Googly goodness.
But you know what? That’s OK. None of us can excel at everything, right?
And anyway, at least one image did spark my imagination to take Rocky’s portrait in a whole new direction.
The moral of today’s story:
If at first you don’t succeed, FAIL HARDER.
Filed under: Attempted humor, Friends and family, Photography, Psychology | 121 Comments
Tags: fail harder, Johannes Haushofer, Liz and James, pet photography, photography fail, Rocky