My near vision is softening into a blurry haze. It is nothing more than age-related presbyopia, correctable with lenses. Precise photography is more difficult now as I flip my glasses on and off while working with my camera's tiny typography. Working a 4x5 is particularly challenging. But, it's not all bad. There are times when my fuzzier world is a blessing. For example, looking at myself in the morning mirror is better without glasses than with.
While my eyes get creakier, everything around me is inherently sharper. The world's imaging processes are getting crisper every day. High definition is today's important product label. We now have more megapixels than we know what to do with. While image sharpness is seductive, I've taken a lesson from my own aging process. I'm going, at least for now, with a little bit of blur.
When I get stuck in my photography I turn to my Lensbaby. Sometimes (as in yesterday) I look at my work and mutter to myself that it all looks the same; sharp, precise, rigid, just like my old professors at RIT would have wanted. Blah. When the burden of technical perfection crushes my chest, my Lensbaby saves me.
It's a myopic little wonder, the Lensbaby—an accordion-focused primitive little beast that softens my world and reduces it to fundamental and seductive shapes. It makes photography fun again and brings back the element of risk and chance. Most of the images I make with my Lensbaby are wonderfully useless. Then, every once in awhile it serves forth a jewel.
Dusting off my Lensbaby yesterday made me feel like I did, as a kid, with my old Polaroid Swinger. I went around the yard and photographed this and that, seeing how familiar stuff might be transformed by the alchemy of photography and primitive lens. The results left me asking for more. The Lensbaby is still mounted on camera for today's adventures.
Some days I don't need to count the gray whiskers on my face. Some days I don't need the precision and bloat of Photoshop. Some days I don't need to the anchor of a zillion pixels. Some days I just want my Lensbaby.