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Accidental beauty


Photo Copyright of Wesley Miller

I have seen his work before, but I was reintroduced to Lee Friedlander through a book given to me as a gift. The book is "Self Portrait". As one would expect, it is a series of photos taken by Friedlander where he is somehow intertwined in the shot. The beauty of it is that in many of the shots, his own inclusion was accidental.
One of the crowning photos, in my opinion, was of a chair with his shadow cast upon it in such a way that it appeared to be sitting in the chair.

This book brought me much pleasure but also sparked a thought in my mind. How many photos are taken that are immediately dismissed because of some accidental inclusion? Are these photos any less perfect just because something showed up in them that we didn't expect to?

I was once told of a contest held where the winning photo would include absolutely no man-made items. In this day and age, even in the wildest of wild areas, this is nearly impossible. So again the question is, what defines perfect?

One of my favorite of my personal photos is of a brilliant summer sunset which, in my haste to catch, was partially obscured by a large electrical tower. Rather than bemoan the accidental object, I used it to my advantage as an example of nature meets industry. The shot was surprisingly well received.

So, before you throw out that shot where you accidentally cast a shadow by miscalculating the sun's location in the sky, take a second look. You may just find that in your error lies a greater art than you originally intended. Lee Friedlander created a whole book of just these types of photos. Perhaps we are all just one step away from similar fame.

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