The demon is in the details

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In freshman biology, we had to read one of two novels that were dramatized tellings of the spreading of two very different and horrible viruses. I chose to read the Demon in the Freezer which was a book about smallpox. After each section of reading, we had to take a quiz, and I always did horribly. I knew the general story plot, I had a basic understanding of what was going on, but the quiz questions were always about the very specific and particular details that I could not remember or maybe had not paid attention to. I didn’t understand why this was important, at the time, but now I know.

The devil is in the details. I don’t really understand why the devil needs to be brought into this discussion, but that’s what got stuck in my head, so there you have it.

The details are important. Attention to detail is important. It’s what takes someone from being mediocre to being great. In your life, in your career, what will set you apart is seeing, understanding, and taking action with details.

As a photographer, those details might be a stray hair, the way someone holds their hands when they feel uncomfortable, a small crick of the neck. The details might be a distracting cord laying across the floor of a ceremony space.

As a designer, those details might be understanding the space and the way it can be photographed to bring in the lighting or flooring or placement of certain objects so they won’t be in the way of guests. Or in the case of a house, a restaurant, or a photoshoot, to feel cohesive, to tell a story, to create the perfect atmosphere.

In a relationship, attention to detail may be difficult. You must first watch your partner, your children, your friends. It’s important to see them and to begin to understand patterns, to understand a stiffness or glance over their shoulder at the things they look at on Instagram. It’s about the way they react to a certain conversation even if the reaction is subtle. It’s about listening to their wants and needs when they tell you even if you don’t have to take any actions at that exact moment.

These details are always in front of us. It doesn’t take a genius or a highly empathetic person to notice their surroundings. And it is important to do this on a regular basis.

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