(Originally written on Aufgust 27, 2012)
I came up with this quote a few months ago while thinking about my transition into manual lens photography. In an era in which digital photography and autofocus lenses are commonplace, there is an expectation for images to be crystal sharp and color perfect. And while there are times when such clarity is appealing and necessary, images today can become too mechanical in their process and lose their human element.
When I first started using manual lenses nearly a year ago, the main purpose was for me to try out primes at specific focal lengths while saving up for their modern autofocus counterparts. That purpose still exists (for I am still saving up money) but now I’m actually learning to embrace the imperfections that my “human” focusing creates. With each twist of my fingers I can better feel the intent of what I want to capture, learning what I want to create.
As creators, however, there is always inceastious need for perfection. We yearn for it because we want to find the absolute best possible way to express ourselves. What is perfection though? A focal point of absolution that even if we wanted to reach would still nonetheless continue on towards forever because there is always something more that can be added. And if for some reason perfection were reachable, what is beyond that? What growth can a creator achieve is if the absolute limit is reached? Thus, the challenge is to undoubtedly surpass this desire for perfection in order to allow our art to have no limits and grow infinitely.
Avoiding perfection isn’t the same as accepting mediocrity, however. There are still standards of composition that must be meet, both to the people we want to reach, but more importantly, to ourselves in crafting the message that we intend to send. Each image taken doesn’t have to be crystal sharp. Each color doesn’t have to be absolutely correct. What is important is the attempt and intent of crafting a thoughtful message with our work and to progress continuously a better completion of that expression.
This is the perfection that I am that I am learning to appreciated. The imperfection that is life.