Dichotomies (6 of 6)

Here we are, 6 weeks later, at the last of the 6 dichotomies. To refresh your memory, these dichotomies are things that theoretically exist on opposite ends of a vertical spectrum. The bottom of the spectrum pushing us down, and the top pulling us up. The other 5 dichotomies can be found here. This last one is huge and all-encompassing of all the other dichotomies. It is this…

Knowing vs. Unknowing

In keeping with today’s theme, I don’t know for sure, but I would say once we age into adulthood we are often being pushed down by our ‘knowing.’ Knowledge is important. It is what keeps us grounded. But, as with all the other dichotomies, we want to be pulled taller by something else. As photographers, we use knowledge to make compositions ‘good’ or ‘right.’ We use knowledge to figure out our f-stop. We use knowledge of colour theory. Knowledge, when it comes to photography, is the easy part. The much harder part is letting go of that knowledge and wading into the unknown. It can be terrifying, sure. But it’s also where the magic happens. It’s where conventional wedding photography turns into art. It’s where words and punctuation turn into poetry. It’s where lifeless turns into soulful. It’s where what it ‘looks like’ turns into ‘what it felt like.’ It’s also where you can get a glimpse of meaning in its most pure, yet undefinable form.

There is a power that comes from knowing that we don’t actually know.

It’s a power that comes, not from control, but from embracing the very lack of control (especially when it comes to wedding photography.)

It’s the person that walks into your frame when you never expected. It’s the bird that flies across the sky as you’re making photos of the sunset. It’s the fart in the middle of Christmas dinner with the family, that no one will ever forget. It’s stumbling into a coffee shop to escape a storm and meeting the love of your life. It’s an accidental pregnancy. All of these examples lie, not in the known, but in the unknown.

It’s important to know, with all these dichotomies we’ve explored, that it’s not about being at one end or the other. It’s about being somewhere in the middle. Aristotle describes it as the Golden mean. It’s important to have the push and the pull.

It’s about understanding that the spectrum doesn’t exist without the paradox of both sides.

Generosity would not exist without selfishness. Imagination would not exist without logic. Humility wouldn’t exist without arrogance. Betterment wouldn’t exist without perfectionism. Acceptance wouldn’t exist without comparison. And, the power of unknowing wouldn’t exist without knowing.   

You need both ends of the vertical spectrum. One to stay grounded and the other to fly!

Love, Erika

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