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Creating The Perfect Image

I don’t believe in signs. I don’t believe in fate. I’m not even sure if I believe in coincidences or if “what’s meant to be” will in fact, really be.

And yet…

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When I was four, or maybe five years old, I was given a painted turtle as a pet from a woman my mother used to clean for. He came with a small plastic green tank, a few sticks of food, and what this little American white girl thought was the silliest name: Homer. The only Homer I knew of was a fat yellow man we weren’t supposed to be watching and who ate too many doughnuts. It would be ten more years until I came across much more respectable Homer #2, and another ten until I found myself in a relationship with a woman who proudly shared #2’s ethnicity. For once, the story of my childhood turtle wasn’t met with a snicker at the sound of his name, but rather a lesson in ancient Greece.

***


When you search for a flight on Orbitz to Syracuse, New York, and you start typing “S-Y-R,” the only other listing that comes up before you get to the “A” is Syros, Greece. Out of the 41,821 airports spanning across the globe, if I were to go blind and accidentally book the wrong “S-Y-R” airport, I would arrive just one island away from where I’ll be marrying my Homeric Greek.

***

I tell her I’ll be able to treat her like a queen once I make my millions; she tells me we’re already rich enough in love. Clichéd. Laughable. That doesn’t keep us from playing the MegaMillions and PowerBall every other week, her dreaming of finishing up her dissertation on an island in the Caribbean, I my novel in Prague.

***

I sometimes like to think about what it takes to create a beautiful photograph. You can study and research and even get a degree in the arts, but that’s not enough; that will only help you to appreciate the techniques of what others have done. You can buy the most expensive lenses and stay up to date on the latest equipment, but the equipment never makes the man. Or woman. Maybe in combination with the above knowledge, you might be able to pass as an “artist.” But to bring that breathtaking photo to life, it has to be the whole package: the education, the tools, and most importantly, how you’re framing the image. Are you too zoomed in and forcing the eye to focus on only one particular element without much surrounding context? Or maybe you’re too far out and the eye doesn’t know where to look first, getting lost in the chaos.

I’m skeptical to believe everything happens for a reason. I still like to think that not everything is pre-determined and leading down a certain path. I want to believe we are still the masters of our own fates, the captains of our own souls. But I do believe in you and me. And I believe in optimism, and that life can be as rich and as meaningful as we’re willing to frame it to be.