Is Your Pervasive Obsession with Perfection Standing in the Way of Great Photography?

Perfectionism is a trending topic in modern society, but can we not do without?

Each time a new camera is released we geek out over megapixels, dynamic range, card slots, battery life, durability, and so on. All just to get that one perfect photo, which we could not get with the old version of our camera. As technology advances so ought our photos. However, as we know that is just not the truth. Yes, with advanced technology the BBC is able to give us even more advanced, creative, and beautiful video, and with David Attenborough’s characteristic voice we are invited into a world none of us has seen before. It is quite remarkable and perfect imagery. Given, much of this videography is designed to get us even closer to the animals but I personally also feel a certain distance to these images. They are just too perfect. I am not there in the same way as when I see a vlogger on YouTube with a small handheld camera. BBC and vlogging are two wildly different formats and each has its strengths.

In this new video from Jamie Windsor, he delivers a strong monologue for seeking out the imperfect to make photos more relatable. He gives several different examples, but especially the blurry landscape photos from Todd Hido taken through his misty car windows during winter stood out to me. These photos are reminiscent of a J.M.W Turner painting, who was a major contributor to the impressionist movement. It is not about getting sharp images; it is about making the viewer feel something.

Windsor takes us through several different examples from candid portraits, over landscapes to architecture. The video really made me think about my own landscape photos and in what future direction I want to take them. There is certainly more to strive for than perfectionism.

Check out the video above and let me hear your thoughts down in the comments.

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5 Comments

Duane Klipping's picture

Fully agree. See far too many striving for perfection be it color, sharpness or name your poison. I have no problem they strive for that but, when they project this onto all photography must be this way or that in order to be good, that is rubbish.

They also need to realize the damage they can do to someone elses work by projecting these false beliefs upon their work.

Alex Yakimov's picture

侘寂 indeed. Since we are talking about imperfection let me share one mine. Is it rubbish or emotional? Would appreciate your thoughts. 😀

Black Z Eddie .'s picture

How about psychological. Looks like you're in vehicle of some kind, stalking that guy who's stalking that girl. And, he's got pole running through his head. :D

Steven Hille's picture

Personally, I think another factor needs to be addressed. Posting ones' photography work on social media or a group is like lowering a chunk of meat into shark infested waters. I've seen exemplary work, ripped to shreds with harsh judgement. This could be why many of us spend more time striving for the 'absolute best' work we can create before we post a photo and pull the pin on the proverbial hand grenade of judgement by our peers. On the other hand, some produce what they feel is good enough and simply just don't give a rip of what the colosseum masses dish out. Oh well just my opinion. (smile)

Alex Yakimov's picture

Fear of external evaluation is a surely strong emotion, but will “not quite my tempo” guarantee a better work?