My mind was blown seeing all this happen during one mid-week evening. I didn’t understand it then, and I barely understand it now, which added to the sense that this is some sort of witchcraft that should not be possible. But it isn’t that – this is pure, old-fashioned math and science, which feels particularly meaningful in America of the summer of 2021.
Somehow, through hard work of people much smarter than me, I could go deep into the photo and not only inspect its frequencies, but actually change them. Imagine being able to edit the nutrition label and see the food transform in front of you. Imagine drawing on top of a weather forecast and summon rain this way. I was so excited I couldn’t sleep.
But I also wanted to share this with you because of how much this moment meant to me.
I’ve always had this theory that any long-term project requires two ingredients: things you’re good at, and things you want to learn. The first group gives you a feeling of accomplishment and mastery. The other one? It keeps things interesting.
When coming to a large project without some things you’ve already mastered, the entire endeavour can feel overwhelming. But without anything new to look forward to, it can become stale and repetitive.
Or here’s another lens: When you’re facing one of the many hard moments, something you’re good at can help you feel awesome. But when you’re bored, something new to learn can remind you how there’s more to life than feeling awesome all the time.
I’ve done enough creative projects to know that the cliché is actually true: the journey really is the reward. The moment of my book’s publication will be hard, really hard – perhaps less of a wedding and more of a break-up. There will be a typo I spot that can no longer be corrected. A mixed review that will touch on something I’m insecure about. And, more than anything else, a hollowness of a multi-year project that cannot immediately be filled by anything else.
Knowing all that, I promised myself to keep the book process itself interesting, and I’ve been determined and lucky enough that this has been the case so far. I’ve learned about interviewing
, editing, proofreading, finding things
, cover design, restoring keyboards
, and many other things. I’m currently in the process of learning about paper and printing (more on that very soon), not to mention marketing.
But that moment when I was taught Fast Fourier Transform and within an hour went from “I guess blurry it is” to “holy shit, I am the god of sharpness”? It immediately became one of my favourite moments. And that this happened during the last year of the project, with the publication on the slowly approaching horizon? For this I will always be grateful.