Tuesday, February 02, 2010

day 145: perfect or happy?

Sometimes I wonder if I will ever be a photographer that takes pictures that are technically perfect in every way. I mean, I look at my pictures and am constantly picking them apart, thinking about how this or that could have been better technically. There are some that are unusable of course, then others that I look at and think, "Okay. That wasn't too bad." Then there are photos, increasingly more as time passes, that I look at and think, "Yay. Looking at this makes me happy. I'm glad I took this."

Mind you, those photos in the latter category are rarely (if ever) what one would call "technically perfect," which is why I wonder if I am ever going to be that kind of photographer.

If I don't make it to Strobist or Scott Bourne-levels as a photographer, I won't die of depression or anything like that. I just wonder.

And then I think back to the photos in the latter category, the ones that make me think "Yay. Looking at this makes me happy. I'm glad I took this."

And it brings me to this conclusion: if it turns out that I cannot have it both ways, I would rather be the type of photographer that takes pictures that people will see and think, "Yay. Looking at this makes me happy. I'm glad the photographer took this."

I think it's because of how I think as a musician and a singer. I never want to be the type of singer that always sings with technically-perfect execution if all the audience is going to take away from my performance is, "Well, it was technically perfect."

I want people to be moved by my singing, even if I fudge a note or run every now and then. I want to sing with such emotion and feeling that the audience BELIEVES what I am saying, even if I am singing in a different language.

Yesterday I read these tweets by songwriter John Mark McMillan:

"The definition of music is 'sound and silence organized.' There is no such thing as 'perfect' in music, just the way it makes you feel."

"People don't really want music, they want you. It doesn't matter how good your music is if you're not in it. You need to bleed a little."

"Cause if your music doesn't make me feel, if it doesn't move me, then it might as well be shoes in the dryer."

"And if your [songs] don't move you then don't expect them to move anyone else."

My sentiments exactly. That is what I want when I am listening to singers and musicians.

But what about photography? Is it... I don't know... vision and silence organized? Can the above quotes apply to photography too? I think they can. Many of the images I have shared over this challenge as inspiration are images that moved me somehow, making me think "Yay. Looking at this makes me happy. I am so glad the photographer took this." And many of those same images do not look like the technically perfect images I have also seen.

In short, I will always work toward making my images more and more technically sound, but my hope is to always be the kind of photographer that provides art that moves people.

Digital field guide: page 73. Why? Because I am indeed, apparently, a slacker. Sheesh.

Images: Rebecca Lily on Flickr

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