Photographing Enough

When I photograph creatively I deliberately seek to show a mood, emotion or concept. In this instance I was thinking ‘What is the least amount of detail I can photograph so the image portrays the wispy fragility of Acer palmatum leaves?’ Too little in focus and the plant can no longer be identified; too much detail and I don’t convey the graceful quality of the foliage. There’s a sweet spot to be found, a balance, that sense of ‘enough’.

Technically I’m in manual mode and using manual focus. I exposed for the leaves which meant blowing the highlights so the background becomes white even though the sky is blue!

I’ve pondered further the word enough as it applies to life in general. It’s flanked either side by the concepts of scarcity and plenty.

Consumer pressure convinces us that resources are limited. Adverts say: ‘it’s cheaper to buy two or more’ (regardless of need) and purchase now so somebody doesn’t get there before us. We are pulled into a scarcity mindset; so we hold tight to what we have and strive endlessly for what we don’t have. Our hearts are squeezed smaller by excesses and competing so we are exhausted and have less capacity to be open to others or be generous. 

I’m no exception to this pull but have found gardening a great anti-dote. From tiny seeds nature gives an abundance but she’s cunning – we don’t reap the benefits immediately so we learn to be patient and wait. When we do harvest our produce it’s deeply satisfying and invariably there’s something to share with others – food, a cutting, a posy of flowers or advice. Through giving our hearts swell so they can accomodate more empathy, more love, more community. The growth vs scarcity mindset can be applied to other areas of life. Our self-esteem grows.

To feel like I have and am enough is liberating. And, back to the photograph – to be able to live surrounded by trees and beauty is a joy. 

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