Plan For The Unplanned

          I would like to think that everything I do creatively is merely just another testament of my brilliant artistic ability. Most of what I create is from intentional act of a well of thought concept to execution, however more often than not, moments of brilliance come from an unplanned accident.

Whenever I venture out somewhere interesting I snatch my Canon AE-1 film camera and keep it close in case I see something worth remembering. On one such outing, I ventured into an Orange Grove with some good friends and their family. It was a nice, warm sunny day to be out walking the heavily shrouded rows of orange trees, some barren while others laden with oranges. None of us realized how to tell if a orange is ripe to pick- so we googled it… apparently if they smell sweet like juice it’s ripe. So like a bunch of giant bees who dip their heads into flowers for nectar, we stood with heads plunged into trees smeling for ripe oranges.


In between our head plunging orange search, my friends family huddled in for a family photo which was being captured by an iphone. I snuck up next to them and struggled to find my frame, set exposure and focus before they scattered. Right as I found my frame and pressed the shutter with a soft “click” I saw them all unfreeze from smiling poses moving in the instant I took the picture. Well I screwed up. Probably caught them all looking away or in some awkward pose- I just missed it by a second….I was so wrong.

After getting my film developed weeks later, the situation and picture had long left my mind. When the image pulled up, I gasped. This “mistake” and accident turned out to be one of the best portraits I’ve ever taken. In that split second when everyone realized they were done with the picture, they all relaxed, expressing themselves freely in that moment.


Not one thing about that pictures was because of a creative choice or planned execution, it was just me stumbling into a mistake and allowing the quintessential, accidental, and genuine to present itself to us as a gift.

Make room for the unplanned, and allow yourself the freedom to not control every moment. Let moments present themselves to you. Just remember, they often hide behind mistakes.