Monday, 29 March 2010

Flaunt the imperfection

Posted by Tania Kindersley.

There are days when I do not have a single thought in my head, or at least, not one fit to print. I did a thousand words of the new book and then my brain shut up shop for the day, in Mondayish protest.

But there must be a blog, I thought, in slight despair. Words still refused to emerge, so I decided we could have a nice visual day. That would be the thing. I rummaged about for good photographs, but I was grumpy by this stage, and nothing seemed quite right; not pretty enough or stimulating enough or thematic enough. I wandered through my photography file, and wondered quite how it was that one person could take so many shots of two dogs. Getting crosser and crosser, I also wondered why it was that I seemed incapable of editing any of my files. I appear to have three thousand photographs, most of them rotten or repetitive (fourteen shots of a frittata, for example, taken to illustrate a recipe).

It was time for The Archers. I must do something. And then I decided perhaps there was a theme after all. One of the ideas Sarah and I pushed in Backwards was that one could learn to embrace and even celebrate imperfection, rather than castigate oneself for perceived lapses. We grew furious at the demands that the media and the zeitgeist put on women to do everything immaculately, which women then internalised and used to beat themselves up with a big, metaphorical stick. What if I took all my hopeless out of focus or blurred or underlit or generally wrong photographs and put them all together in a glorious visual representation of imperfection? Perhaps there was a reason that I did not delete them, after all.

So here they are, for the days when we all feel a bit pointless and feckless and useless:


Bookshelves 052

sausage casserole 043

gloaming 14th January 001

wet autumn October 2009 037

 December 18th landscape and soup 006

Christmas Eve 026

London and driving home 065

gloaming 14th January 018

Come on, it's practically art. Or, perhaps not. Well, definitely not. Anyway, I feel rather better now.

And the best for last.  This one kills me. I was trying to take pictures of a midnight snow; it was a magical, moonlit, winter night, and I wanted to capture it. I completely mistook the light, and all I was left with were two slightly puzzled pairs of canine eyes, staring at me quizzically through the dark:

snow 021

Happy Monday.


(Small logistical note: for those of you on Google Reader, I apologise that this is the THIRD version of this post. I had to put it up three different times, because at the first two attempts the photographs did not come out, which I almost took as a sign that they really were too crappy to be seen by the human eye. In the end, dogged to the last, I persevered.)


  1. I feel a little nervous being the first one to leave a comment (like the first penguin into the water!) but I LOVE THESE PICTURES!!! I really, really do. It's a cold rainy day in California and they just fit my mood completely, I'm enthralled (whether anyone else is or not!!). The last one of course is BRILLIANT!!! Thank you for saving what is left of a miserable Monday afternoon! (only one problem: embracing the imperfection led to perfection??)

  2. And I laughed out loud at the last photograph. So I can go to bed with a smile on my face. Thank you.

  3. Oh that last photo cracks me up. I don't think that I (or my camera) have the knack of taking nighttime photos either.

  4. How kind and lovely you both are.

    Lucia - NEVER be afraid to leave a comment; it always makes my day.

    And Helen: now I too am going to bed with a smile on my face.

  5. Alex - so glad the dog eyes made you laugh. I really do think they were wondering what on earth I was trying to do.

  6. Your post cheered me up - I had the same problem today - pictures not coming up, as well as pictures disappearing from my blog - after a bit of a panic, they turned up again - very frustrating!

    I always love to visit your blog - would love to be able to write with such ease. Sometimes even leaving a comment has me tied up in knots! - xxx


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