Recently I was watching a video by a well known photographer about editing and touch ups. He pulled up one of his photos to use as an example; it was pretty close to perfect.
He said in order to realize what needs to be lightened, darkened, or completely taken out squint your eyes and stare at the photo for awhile. What catches your eye the most (besides the subject)? What sticks out above all else? Then you will find the culprit that needs to be asked Are you adding or taking away from the image? That is what you’ll need to lighten, darken or take out. As he started removing things from the photo such as a large rock near the models feet, a bench in the distance, or an awkward branch, I was surprised. The image looked great as is, but it looked even better as he de-cluttered it. It really forced my eyes on the subject.
Wow. What if we applied this to our life? I don’t know where you live, but I live in a world and culture of plenty. What you want to do, who you want to be, who you want to know, where you want to live is at our fingertips or a click away. We can be as busy as we want, and we can sign up for whatever we want. It’s a very full time to be alive.
Let’s imagine that we are the subject of an image, and life is the background.
So I ask you, to squint your eyes and look at your life. Look at your days, your weeks, your years. Look at your highs and your lows. What sticks out to you the most? What catches your eyes?
Is it adding or taking away from your life?
This isn’t an exercise to get rid of things that you initially may think of as negative or toxic. It’s a way to assess what is adding, and what is taking. If it’s not adding then what’s the point? Do you desire to have things in your life that aren’t adding?
This thing could be something you like, or it could be a metaphor to represent what’s going on inside. But if it sticks out to you the most….Is it adding or taking away from your life?
As you squint and look at your life, go through the top 3-5 things that catch your eye the most and ask yourself that question.
Maybe you’re life looks great as is but could it look better de-cluttered to force your eyes on whatever your goal may be?
I’d love to hear what sticks out to you when you look at your life. It’s not easy letting go.