I love Contrast and Contradiction. They make you look harder. They make you see things you normally (sometimes intentionally) overlook. They highlight, they shadow, they call you out. They challenge the “what is.”
I used to bum around with my Nikon FM2 (it used film, remember those? FM2 is a beauty – completely mechanical and you can hear the opening and shutting of the shutter) loaded with B&W film.
I loved taking pictures of interiors and night scenes – I was intrigued by what the camera could “see” that our eyes cannot, when I manipulated the exposure and push the contrast of light and dark.
Instead of the “normal” 100, 200 or 400 speed, I used 800 and “push” it to 3200 so I could shoot in low light condition without using flash. Flash lets you see what you want to see. Long exposure time takes in everything – whether you want to see it or not.
When I did the prints, I used filters to pump up the contrast even more. I love how grainy, gritty, and contrasty the photos came out. I always love high contrast – it screams at you to make you see.
Reality amplified. Perception enhanced.
In Your Face.
I do not have any formal education or training in photography. No one told me to get the fifty shades of grey all nice and even. No one would give me a D if I didn’t give a crap about the grain. It was all guts in the dark room. It’s my hands fused with the FM2, my body dance with it and my fingers clicking the shutter without thinking how the outcome would be judged by others.
I went for contrast, to the max. Challenge what the eye “sees” and present a different framework and perspective to perceive.
It is not about staying in the grey, being “safe”. It is not about being in neutral and not taking a stand. It is not about muddling through murky waters. There is no room for dabbling.
Contrast makes LIFE pop to life. Contrast makes you focus and pay attention. Contrast has the element of shock to make you see the familiar differently. Contrast is what makes it possible to read the words on a page.
Contrast has GUTS. Contrast dares to drop what is “just nice but peripheral or even distracting” and make you look at the big idea. Dare to see everything, then discern what doesn’t serve.
If Contrast makes you look, Contradiction makes you think;
If Contrast pushes you to discernment, Contradiction pushes you to clarity.
I love contradiction. I contradict myself often – especially when I dig deep into something, I would challenge what I have said before. Contradiction forces me to get clear, and take a stand. It forces me to fall into deeper alignment with what is true for me by unfolding another layer of clarity.
Contradiction; Confrontation. Not just to the outside world, but DARE to confront yourself to get to the bottom of your truth.
Many avoid “contradicting” themselves at all cost – it kind of feels like admitting that you are wrong. Being aware of and admitting you are contradicting yourself takes guts, for sure. It also takes the desire to know what is important for you. It is about choosing your truth over “being right.”
When you encounter contradiction, you can step up and look at the conflict, so you can decide what is true for you at that moment in time… or chicken out and step back so you don’t have to “explain yourself” to the world. (Reality – the world would care less. Everyone has his own navel to gaze.)
Contradiction happens when you strive for clarity and specificity. Muddling on the surface and going after the lowest common denominator rarely brings out contradiction because you stay in the neutral, in the inoffensive (therefore, in the boring).
It is when you get specific and challenge “what has been” then contradicting ideas come to light. When you contradict yourself, the cognitive dissonance will drive you to take a good honest look, dig deep and get it “resolved” – you have the CHOICE to chicken out, or get into more aligned with your truth.
Magic happens when you CHOOSE alignment.
My way of working with contradiction rarely results in “either-or” – in fact, it’s the gateway to creating new solution/new way of doing things to get the best of both worlds – have your cake and eat it too.
I have learned enough business and marketing to know what works what doesn’t. If I know Y works, yet I want to be X (which seems to contradict Y, at least as I perceive it), I would ask the question – How can I do Y and still be X? Or, How do I make Y work for X?
I refuse to be boxed in by “what other say works” and leaving part of Me, part of what I really want, at the door. How can you make “other people say what is” work for what you truly want to be?
Opposing concepts do not have to be mutually exclusive. They may appear to be so because of your stories, preconception and conditioning. But if you ask the question, step back and look at it from a different perspective, you may just discover a new way of doing things.
Embrace Contradiction’s ability to spark Innovation.
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