Glen Goffin Photography

Sunday, June 28, 2009

58 Sterile or soulful?

Through TOP, I encountered Jeff Ascough and his masterful wedding photography. But just as enjoyable as his photography, I found his blog to be eminently readable. In fact, like a good novel, I couldn't stop once I began.

Something that resonated in me was Jeff's embrace of imperfection. He argues that imperfections lend an image it's 'soul'. This hits home. I've been minutely mired in the malodious muck of manic perfectionism and my photography is losing it's soul. The image above is a great example.

Photoshop and ACR enable us to correct all the little technical bugaboos in our images. We can boost detail in shadows, fix colors, add local contrast, correct lens distortions ... and on and on.

Jeff, on the other hand, wields the sword of imperfection with skill ... slicing the heads off marching hordes of barbarous technical critics.

I'm reminded again of the Sir Francis Bacon quote: "There is not beauty that hath not some strangeness in its proportions". I propose that that extends to other aspects as well. There is not beauty that has not some degree of vignetting ... or there is not beauty that has not some inky black shadows ... Ok, these are all overstatements. But there is room in the cab for both.

I vow to shake the shackles of that certain stale and soul-less stench of perfectionist sterility and let my crappy photos stay crappy ... but at least they have real soul!



Ove said...

Yay to that. Our endless hunt for the technically perfect image is ridiculous in far more ways than I can count, so I couldn't agree more with you on this. It's relieving to feel good about an image despite its technical qualities, especially if it really communicates a bit of yourself and how you see life. Who cares about it not being perfect? Sometimes these images describes your vision of life best, because it not as sharp and perfect as some may think.... This ended up as a somewhat blurry comment, I'm afraid. :)

Glen Goffin said...

Ove - well said! It's thoughtful readers like you that make this worthwhile. You underscored the point very well. I'm not arguing (nor is Jeff) that sloppiness should replace discipline but we shouldn't get electro-shock if we stray outside the bounds sometimes. And ... it's fun! Peace, Glen

omami said...

For me this picture is lovely and peaceful and it means something even more, it brings joy to see it!

Peace to you!!!

Debra Trean said...

beautiful and soulful...for sure

Ida said...

Glen, this shot is stunning, great job! I agree with omami that it looks peaceful. I love the field and they way the trees are lined up. So beautiful.

Be safe!


Markus Spring said...

Oh well: when I (re-)started photography, I was for a long time hunting for the perfect lenses. Now that I have some, I find myself adding vignetting to some technically perfect shots. Now that I have a good camera I sometimes add noise/grain as it feels better for certain images, or I turn down saturation until the "natural" look goes away...
I could have had it cheaper, that is certain. Otoh photography is a craft tightly connected with technology and therefore inherently having this aspect of perfection. So I guess this stepping back from technical perfection is connected with a development step in gaining artistic freedom - and also in seeing more clearly, as the world is not perfect but beautiful in so many aspects.

Glen Goffin said...

Markus - aha, excellent point! We spend grand sums of money for equipment that enables the most technically perfect results and then we defeat all of that benefit. Evidenced in good part by the iPhone work (see LENS and or by the Holga craze. But I suppose it is a much better place to be as an artist to have the OPTION of adding noise than not having the option at all :)) Thank you for such a thoughtful comment. Peace, Glen

Akoka'tssini said...

I agree with Ove, and lvoed what he was able to pull out of it, and also your response on thoughful viewers being those worthwhile. I'm personally not a photographer, but was linked from Deb Trean's page and enjoyed this photo.

Soiamastone said...

I have taken so many photos, that there are not really that many that I absolutely love. I really need to let myself grow, and not get impatient. Sometimes I can go out and just come back with nothing, I just can't fix them to what I want. Maybe I want too much, when I see so many photos out there with feeling. I guess I always want my photos to have feeling to me.
Anyway, you always leave me thoughts to ponder. You have some beautiful spots for pictures where you live! Peaceful image Glen, love the peaking of the building through the trees.

Glen Goffin said...

Jules - I really enjoy your photography. And it is so uniquely yours. A definitive style of your own. It's you that comes through so clearly. I'm too often a perfectionista and it sometimes cripples me. That's why it is so freeing to be able to publish images that just feel good even if they aren't perfectly the way I want them. You know what I mean? Peace, Glen