Photography, Perfection, Apertures, and Hospitality

“f8 and be there.”┬áRenowned photojournalist Arthur Fellig said this when asked about how he captured such great photos. It’s a basic photo setting. You won’t get the dramatic depth of field like you would with a larger aperture, like portrait mode on your iphone. And you won’t get super crisp landscapes like Ansel Adams did with f64. But f8 is good enough to get your subject clear while letting in enough light to avoid motion blur in a majority of photos. The point is, to “be there”.

In a world of automatic camera settings, this point is still profound in other areas of life and how it relates to perfection. Perfection is the enemy of productivity. I think often about the 80/20 rule where 20% of my effort will result in 80% of my impact. The other day, I was sharing this with a couple friends who were at my house, applying this idea to cleaning. Rarely is my house spotless. I have three teenage sons. My goal is 80% clean. The “be there” part of this is in the hospitality. I love having people over and I don’t mind them seeing a little mess, as long as it’s 80% clean.

The past couple years have been socially strange, as the term “social distancing” entered our lexicon. We had social bubbles, and we sheltered in place. We spent weeks in lockdown and felt guilty meeting the eyes of neighbors we passed on the street for fear that eye contact alone might spread the virus in those early days.

It might feel a little strange to invite friends into your home. But if we’ve learned anything through this strange social experiment, I hope we have realized how precious our friendships are. Precious enough to practice hospitality, even if your home is only 80% clean.

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Author: Becky

California-based photographer and designer, working to cultivate beauty

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