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What I’ve learned from the husband and cooking


My mother loves this photograph. A lot. She told me today that I should enter it in a photo contest (you may or may not know my mother, but her saying this is a pretty big compliment). The thing about the photo is…it’s great. But I really didn’t do it.

I mean, I did. I took it. But mostly I just waited for it. This is something I’ve learned from the husband, who is a photographer (cinematographer, technically, but they both make pictures). If you see a photo in a situation, and you wait long enough, a picture will come. Or it won’t. But you have to be ready for it and you have to try to get it. Which means taking a mess-load of photos. That’s exactly what I did with this camel photo (which, I agree with my mom, is pretty cool). I took so many photos trying to get the one I wanted I thought my dessert dune bashing group was going to leave me by myself in the no-wheres of the Abu Dhabi desert. But I saw a photo in this funny group of camels and I wanted it, so I waited and kept trying…

And I got it. Well, I got a version of it. Which is another thing I’ve learned about photography. Or maybe more about myself. I don’t get the photo I see in my head. If I’m lucky and wait it out (and keep trying new things) I get something close to what I saw in my head.

This is also true of cooking. I’ve never made a single thing that turned out the way I thought it would. Not exactly. Sometimes it’s better (sushi). Occasionally it’s far far worse (corn curry). But it’s never exactly what I thought it would be, especially if my imagination and expectation is based on a photograph in a magazine or cookbook. But in teaching myself to cook, I’ve learned the same thing that photography has taught me in another way. If you see a dish you want, you make it. You don’t worry about it, you just make it. And when it doesn’t come out, you try it again, differently, until you get a version of what you imagined.


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