Monday, April 18, 2016

Perfection Isn't The Goal

Finding Hope When All Seems Hopeless - Lancaster, California
This street photography image is significantly flawed. Does that make it a bad photograph?
The goal of your photography should never be perfection. This may seem odd to say. Society says that you should strive for perfection. Camera manufacturers tell you that with their new product perfection is possible. But the truth is that there is no such thing as the perfect photograph.

Even if the perfect photograph existed, wouldn't it be perfectly boring? I guess it's in the eye of the beholder.

Imperfections have their place. Some people strive for imperfections. There are photographers that wreck their negatives to purposefully give their photographs flaws. People (myself included) digitally add imperfections into their images.
When New Times Aren't Any Better - Pismo Beach, California
There are plenty of flaws found in this photograph if you look close enough.
It's like those who purposefully damage their furniture to give it a rustic or antique look. The piece might appear to be 50 years old, but in reality it's brand new. It's the olden look that the interior designer is after. It's the flaws that make it interesting.

You can buy brand new jeans that have holes in them. It's the style. Sometimes the look that one is after is rugged or broken.

Things with character are intriguing--things that aren't perfect. Things that have nicks or rips or rust. There is a fascination with brokenness, perhaps because it's something that we can all relate to. Everyone has personal flaws.
Courageous Together - Tejon Ranch, California
This photograph has dark shadows and inaccurate skin tones. Does it matter?
My point is that in photography perfection isn't the goal. It's no big deal if your images have flaws (in fact, flaws might be desirable). What matters is whether or not your images nonverbally speak something. Do they convey a message to the viewer? Do they carry an emotion? The goal is for the viewer to feel or understand something that they didn't before looking at your photograph.

If your photographs say something, all of the imperfections and flaws will be accepted. No one will worry about how perfect or imperfect it is. The viewer will like the image because it moved them in some way.

Forget perfection. It's an empty and impossible pursuit. Instead, worry about the things that you can control. Speak something profound to the viewers in spite of all the flaws.

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