Wednesday, April 22, 2009

How It Feels To See Your Art

The Las Vegas Strip in a stunning orange and red sunset
The Las Vegas Strip as seen from my hotel room at sunset
From Misc Photos

There are times that my life seems a tad surreal. Yesterday, I walked into a co-worker's office and was talking to him, not really thinking about what I was looking at. The large print he had leaning against his window was a stunning view of a Las Vegas sunset. I knew it well of course.

Wait... why did I know it well? Where had I seen it? As the picture clawed its way from the periphery of my attention into the light of conscious thought the answer became obvious: I had taken the picture myself. It was from a 2003 trip to Las Vegas that I took with my family. My partner and I had just fallen into our hotel room and I pulled back the curtain to catch the most fabulous sunset I'd ever seen. I rushed to get out my camera and took two photos in rapid succession. Thankfully the first of the two came out well, even though I'd used auto white-balancing. The second had a blue-cast and made the scene look flat and dull. Anyway, back to the office...

I was stunned. I asked how he'd gotten the image, and he told me that another of our co-workers had sent it to him. It was a feeling I never thought that I'd have. This was a confirmation of my work as an amateur photographer that couldn't be denied: at least one person in the world thought that it was not only worth paying money to have one of my photos printed, but he intended to hang it at home.

Of course, I can't really claim credit. The hotel put me in that room and I certainly didn't put the sunset there. As photos go it's decent, but today I know much more about how to use my camera, and the second shot clearly demonstrated that the results I got only happened to be so stunning. Still, I felt a sense of pride and accomplishment that I've only ever felt with respect to my software development in the past. It was a great feeling, and perhaps one I'll have to work at finding again.