Like most of my life’s pursuits, I’ve never been the best at chess. Actually, when it comes to that particular game, I’m not sure I qualify for mediocre. My mind has never been geared for long game strategy. Still, I enjoy the occasional match. Going in, I’m always sure I’ll be able to see the game in a different way than before. This time, I’ll see the path to victory! Usually, I still lose. But is it a waste of time to pursue the win?
Chess is beautiful enough to waste your life for.
– Hans Ree
When I found this quote, it struck a chord. Lately, I’ve been dealing with a lot of change. The world around me seems to constantly crumble and reconstruct. My emotional state runs the gamut. It is very tiring. The chaos has thrown me well off my game. More often than not, when it comes to photography, I feel like I am wasting my time.
Resetting the Chess Board
I know I’m not wasting my time. Forget my accomplishments in the field of photography. They are relatively modest, but they are real and they are mine. They serve as memorable landmarks that few really care about or even recognize. What really matters is that photography feeds my soul. At my worst, you can hand me a camera and a subject, and my attitude will begin to reset. The strategies, if you will, of taking a good image are a conduit to a more positive frame of mind. This resetting of the chess board makes it worth wasting my time.
Chess is Beautiful
In this loose analogy between photography and chess, I do have to agree: It is beautiful. You will never see the vast majority of my images. Often, what you do see is not obviously attributed to me. My name, my brand, does not appear on the product shots I create. It does not appear on images I take for private use. They are mine, but you share them all the same.
I close with another quote that helps bring us back to why I continue pursuing photography despite a bevy of frustration.
Chess doesn’t drive people mad, it keeps mad people sane.
– Bill Hartston