Many years ago when I was in kindergarten we were to draw a picture of a house. A piece of paper and crayons were our tools. The pictures were completed and turned in. We then gathered around as the teacher showed each student’s drawing for the entire class to see. Some were single story and some were two-story. Then came mine, it was round, orange with green windows. My teacher described it as a haystack. I was traumatized, hence the beginning of my fear to be different.
Fast forward to high school. A required class was Advanced Composition. An entire semester of writing! I excelled in math not English and certainly not writing. This was going to be a long semester. However, Mr. Brown made the semester fun. We played trivia some days and best of all Mr. Brown was known for his impersonation of Mr. Fred Rogers. One assignment in particular I was struggling with what to write about, unfortunately I don’t recall the instructions. Finally I decided to write about how I would get ready for school. My paper was full of questions that would be asked of myself each day. What I would wear, every piece of clothing, jewelry, etc. What makeup would I apply? Which accessories and so forth. It wasn’t a paper I was proud of, but at least the assignment was completed and turned in. One day Mr. Brown was discussing the papers that had been turned in and one in particular that was so different. He told the class the paper was full of questions. I was immediately panic-stricken, this was my paper he was talking about! Unlike my kindergarten experience, I was being complimented on how different my paper was. Really?
One year later, my senior year of high school. My favorite class was computer programming. We learned flowcharts, binary code and BASIC language. We worked on a DEC 10 system. This was a class I excelled in, or so I thought. One day it was my turn to show my flowchart on an overhead projector at the front of the class. My teacher, Mr. Rolenc, said “Wait, that won’t work”. Once again I was full of panic. Mr. Rolenc continued to go through my flowchart and said “that does work, I never thought of doing it that way”. My flowchart was different and I was still excelling.
This past year my life has been all about photography. Attending workshops and just getting out there. Learning new and different techniques. I have had photos critiqued and one in particular part of the feedback was “I think you’re on the right track with the composition, mainly because it’s different than the classic…”.
A few months ago I was telling the story behind one of my photos to someone who has been a part of my life for a very long time. I had processed the photo in a much more artistic way and made the comment it was different from what I usually do. The person who was listening to my story made the comment “you’re not afraid to try something different” with a big smile.
Do you see the common theme with each of the stories? That’s right, I tend to do things different. Sometimes being different isn’t appreciated and considered wrong. What do I say to that? Is it wrong or is it different? So there you have it – Different Isn’t Wrong, It’s Just Different.
The photo that was critiqued and the story behind it? Well, that’s another story for another day.
Prints available for purchase at TBecker Photos