Thursday, April 22, 2010

Perfection is the Enemy of the Done (or The Best Camera)

As a very wise and accomplished costume designer once told me, "Perfection is the Enemy of the Done."

These words were said to me during one of her corsetry classes as she watched me painstakingly work on some fiddly-bit on the project. Her words shocked me, as it was probably one of the best pieces of advice that I had ever heard. She was right, of course. If I continued trying to get this one teensy thing right, I wouldn't be done by the end of the class -- and as the purpose of the class was to understand the basics of creating this particular corset, I could worry about the fiddly bits later and ensure that I get help & feedback on the big parts.

I've taken her advice (and dispensed it, as well) on my sewing projects. Yes, I should do a very good job on ensuring that everything fits, is well tailored, and that there are no loose thread ends to be seen. HOWEVER, if it's going to take me 4 hours to *perfect* one small part of a costume and I only have 6 hours to finish? Well, why would I spend 4 hours to perfect something when spending one (1) hour can get me "good" enough until I can make it better later? Besides, who is going to care that the inside lining stitches under the arm aren't 100% straight? Who's going to see it?

So, I've become somewhat of an "organic" costumer, in that sense. I've also carried that philosophy over to my knitting & crocheting. Dropped stitch? Easily fixed without tearing my hair out. Did I end up with 1-2 extra stitch in a row? Not a problem. I'll just K2TOG or P2TOG it out of existence (as long as it doesn't completely mess up the pattern)

I'll use lifelines, stitch markers, and all other manner of tricks just to save myself time and frustration *when* I make a mistake. (I'm not vain enough to think that my knitting is "perfect" and that I won't make a mistake.)

However, I've seemed to *not* taken that advice to heart when it comes to photography. (And you may ask yourself what this has to do with costuming or knitting or crocheting, but I'm getting to that....)

Specifically, I won't mark a knitting/crochet project as 'finished' (on Ravelry) until I can get a photo of it up onto the project page. HOWEVER, sometimes it takes me a while to get the photo because I'm too busy or the outside light isn't good enough or I just do not want to take out the lights and setup a whole photoshoot because I'm lazy.

Consequently, I'm missing photos of various projects I have finished because I haven't gotten around to taking those photos. Dragging out all of the professional gear can be sometimes a hassle and not to mention heavy/bulky to carry around ALL THE TIME.

Chase Jarvis, who is a very successful photographer whose work I do admire, said that the *BEST camera* is the one you have with you. And, nowadays, most people actually have their camera phone with them at all times. Chase even has a whole website dedicated to iPhone & mobile camera photography.

Sure, mobile or smartphone cameras don't have the bells & whistles of those fancy professional cameras (like my other ones) but it IS a camera. And if you HAVE a camera on you, you'll be more likely to use it.

So, this morning, before rushing off to work, I snapped several photos of myself wearing the sweater in the mirror using my iPhone, did some *minor* post processing on my special photo iPhone app, and now, I have a decent photo of my finished project.

Mondo Cable Pullover

Eventually, I'll get around to taking a better photo with my camera gear, but now I can consider this *DONE*. After all, perfection is the enemy of the done.