When Things Go Wrong

Many of you know that I enjoy photography. Others are aware that I have more than a passing interest in business.

Both of these fields, along with most everything else in life, have in common the fact that on occasion, despite all efforts to the contrary, things can go wrong.

A small story follows…

Following an intimate Christmas at home (just the two of us, on LI), I suggested to Ellie that a day trip to NYC would be a pleasant way to spend a rainy Saturday. She agreed, and yesterday off we went.

Our first destination: Bar Boulud (completing our circuit of the empire of the currently putative reigning king of all things culinary in NYC). Brunch met my expectations better than Ellie's. I'm a fan of charcuterie, El — not so much. But that's not my point here, so on…

The day was wet, windy and cold. Impossible to be comfortable outside.

So, on finishing brunch, we sought an indoor venue for the balance of the afternoon. The Metropolitan Museum of Art was our choice.

We arrived to find the grand hall chock-a-block with fellow weather refugees, but pressed on, figuring that we'd be able to find a quiet corner. Wrong. Hot and crowded here, and here, there and there.

Arriving at an out-of-the-way mezzanine gallery with an open bench, I set myself down for a few moments rest, and a photo opportunity. Pleased to find an evolving scene with agreeable views, I clicked away.

Rejuvenated, we moved on, and I kept shooting, thinking that despite the heat and crowding, a nice album would be a resulting record of our visit.

Wrong again. Turns out that on Christmas Eve, in handing the camera over to a gracious fellow diner to snap our photo…

2009-12-24 18-35-47

…he planted a large, barely transparent, fingerprint that covered the southeast corner of the lens.

Every shot that I took yesterday carried that watermark, the raw images unusable.

With a bit of Aperture, Photoshop and IMovie hand waving however, combined with a soundtrack graced by the playing of genius by another, it proved possible to produce something passable. See below.

My point: Things ALWAYS go wrong. Usually unexpectedly and badly wrong.

Your test: will you find a way through to a positive outcome, or something less?

Customers expect you to screw up; they choose their key partners based on which rise to the occasion and make things right in the end.

Team members don't expect perfection; they hope for grace and perseverance following setbacks.

Thoughts for a Sunday evening in December…

Met Sunday from Richard Bravman on Vimeo.

Posted in Business, Travel.


  1. Nice recovery! If the thumbprints never would have made it to your lens, none of us would now be able to enjoy your beautiful and inspiring production.
    I love it when “mishaps” lead to even more interesting results than originally planned. In photography, business, and life.

  2. We have a koan … Answer 30 blows, don’t answer 30 blows.
    What to do?
    Thanks for the photos from the MET. T loved the background music.

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