Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Cost of a Toss


A week ago, I sat on a snow-caked bench throwing my shoe in the air. My hands trembled as a chilling wind picked up, bringing the adjusted temperature down into the the single digits. I shook the snow off of the Vibram sole, rearranged the red laces, reset the focus and stretched out my hand. With a toss and subsequent "thump" of the shutter, my 5d Mark II took a 1/8000 second exposure, freezing my Danner boot in the air forever. Unsatisfied with the result on my three inch LCD, I repeated the process. As blood drained from my hand, I focused on the small image visible through the viewfinder for another 40 minutes deadset on getting the desired image. After 100 tries, my freezing hands overcame my uncompromising, perfectionist desire to get the perfect image and I retired my camera to my backpack and headed towards the car.

My stubbornness, overly critical tendencies and often stratospheric expectations instrumental in creating my aesthetic taste lend themselves to all aspects of my life and identity. Recently these traits have put a lot of pressure on the relationships in my life that I value most and forced me to take a step back and assess.

The cost of not getting your way or being over critical is not an uncomfortably cold hand (like with taking photos of flying shoes), but a break down of close ties. I can afford to toss my shoe in the air 100 times to capture an image but I cant afford to approach my personal relationships with the same selfish criteria.

On the flight home from New England to the Northwest, I finished Edward S. Curtis's biography, Shadow Catchers. Curtis' inability to compromise and approach to his personal relationships with the same criteria of his capturing images of Native Americans resulted in an extremely depressing personal life culminating with his death at 84 in the house of his only child that would put up with him. I share this story and metaphor not as an excessive public self critique, but because I feel it has relevance to a lot people and is a topic often overlooked. The challenge is to let my critical eye, high expectiation and conviction to my values florish with my work but not define my relationships with the people around me.

Here are some more links,
The Cost of a Toss (Picasa).

16 comments:

Isaac Buie said...

Foster I identify with you more than you will ever know...Thank you for this very authentic and insightful post.

Foster Huntington said...

Isaac,
I am glad you like my post. I debated for an hour or two about posting on such a personal topic. I think it needed to be said as a permanent reminder to me,
foster

T said...

Great site and great post. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, pictures and insights. Keep it up :)

Foster Huntington said...

thanks for the kind words T. I appreciate your support.
Foster

Andreas said...

If only Michael Williams participated in this sort of introspection. Then maybe we'd figure out why is blog is so boring.

Andreas said...

also lets stop pretending kletterlift soles on boots are comfortable to walk around in on pavement. clomping around all loudly... sounds like a horse!

hate

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matthew said...

I've been thoroughly enjoying your blog for some time now. Most of the time, I've just browsed your beautiful photography (I'm now contemplating living in New England, rather than Canada), though I read this post, and found it quite insightful. It seems evident to me that you have a great skill with words, and with your camera.

Foster Huntington said...

Mathew,
thanks for the kind words, they mean a Lot to me.
Foster

Ryan said...

An insightful, honest post. Keep up the good work.

Wale said...

First off great photography, I find it not just mare coincidence that after a two hour discussion with a friend about the importance of compromise in relationships that I visit your site and read this. I've been reading your blog for almost a year now and this has to my favorite post. great job.

Foster Huntington said...

Wale,
compromising is one of the hardest but most important things we learn to do in our lives. As a 21 I am no where near where I should be. I really appreciate your loyal readership and support,
foster

Bill said...

I have the same boots. Where did you find the laces?

Foster Huntington said...

I picked them up a shoe store for like 4$,
foster

Bill said...

Thanks. I can't seem to find them online or anywhere.

Michelle said...

this really resonated with me as well. learning to be less demanding of others than i am of myself...a work in progress, although as my dad says, "to recognise is to control."