It’s 7:30 in the evening and, from my window on US Air 1883, I’m watching a guy in a deicing cab, perched in a cold wet sky.  Behind him red, yellow and white lights feign daylight for an entire airport community bent on launching people into that sky, many of them homeward bound, all escaping Philly’s winter weather.

As I watch, I become obsessed with catching a glimpse of his face.  I somehow want to personalize this experience.  It’s got to be uncomfortable out there, and my plane is just one of many, now at the front of a long line waiting for a spot on the deicing pad.  I want to see in his eyes that this matters to him more than his comfort, that he’s oblivious to the cold, that he knows the stakes, feels responsible, and will stay on that wing until he is absolutely certain that this plane has been successfully prepared for launch. In other words, I need him to be a perfectionist.

Much has been written extolling the pursuit of excellence and warning against perfectionism, which involves a certain intolerance for mistakes. That may apply to artists, athletes, and office workers, but I’m just not sold on it as a general rule.


Published by

Kathleen Gill

I am a semi-professional photographer, with the passion of a true amateur, drawn primarily to nature and travel, but open to and intrigued by most everything. In 2014, I began working on a 52-Week Photo Project, posting one photo a week that expressed something about that week – a theme, a story, a feeling. My intent was to add an element of story-telling to my work. That project was successfully completed in September 2015 and is all stored in the archive here. After a several month break, I began a new 12-month project. Each month in 2016 I will present a group of carefully curated images – a sort of thematic portfolio – along with an essay. My intent is to improve my editing skills and, of course, motivate me to keep on shooting. Please follow me and let me know what you think. You can see more of my work on my website: www.kathleengillphotography.com.


  1. I am one of the people in the camp that perfectionism is a zero sum game but i must admit I want the deicing to be perfect so my outlook might need to be modified. Thank you for the thought provoking image.


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