Imperfect Work :: Blowing It On Purpose


Question… Does it have to be perfect? Can the best image for the job sometimes be blown technically but executed perfectly for the job at hand?

Wrong exposure.

Wrong focus.

Wrong shutter speed.

Wrong light.

Wrong composition.

Just right photograph.

As technically strong as I try to be I’m always drawn to the work of others and myself that blows “technical perfection” out the window in lieu of “emotion” “movement” etc. Thoughts? Each photo above is technically wrong. They should be dumped yet they are in the first edit of my new portfolio.

I wouldn’t want to buy an “imperfect” house. Why do I like “imperfect” photography? Thoughts?

Cheers, Zack

PS – More on the business coming up. Just needed a break from all that. :)




Discussion

  • Andrew said on October 13, 2010

    Zack, I think that this post reminds me of a conflict that I can never mentally resolve.

    When an established photographer like you showcases photos like these, that work is regarded as great art. The artist is someone who is not afraid to disregard technical norms and takes risks with their work. These ideas are not ideas that I disagree with; personally I love all of the above photos.

    But when a beginner does something like this, they are chastised and disregarded. It is assumed that they don’t know how to set an appropriate shutter speed or how to meter correctly.

    It begs the question of the significance of accidental creation. Are blurry photos art only if you intend for them to be? Must you first master making technically excellent photos before you can make excellent artistic photos?

    All of the above are serious questions that I don’t feel that I can resolve.

  • Stephen said on October 13, 2010

    “imperfection” isn’t a term I’d use for these images, as I doubt you accidentally did these images. I’m thinking you purposefully shot each of them to create movement and emotion, which in turn creates a moment better than a perfectly lit portrait of someone doing “pouty lips” at the camera.

    Now… if these were happy accidents.. Lucky you. we all have them, and I have one or two in my books as well. ;)

    But knowing how creative you are, I’m thinking that you meant for these to look something like this. In that way… these are perfect photos.

    It’s no different than shooting through an old 4×5 camera w/ a DSLR or shooting with a Holga because you know it’ll look a certain way. Vision in photography is about understanding, not only what it takes to get your camera to take a technically perfect photo, BUT also knowing how to manipulate the settings on your camera so that things WON’T come out perfect, YET stir emotion in the minds of viewers… especially Clients, Art Directors, ETC ETC.

    great shots by the way.

  • Teymur Madjderey said on October 13, 2010

    I guess it all depends on what you are after… a technically perfect picture or one that captures a mood or so. and especially in an collection of photos of a certain event or so a mix of all of them would be nice.

    and as long as the client or if they are for yourself love the photos I think its valid to have them….

    I love this shot I took of a buddy of mine and its far from being technically good. at pitch black darkness on a boat at ISO 12800 or so… http://www.flickr.com/photos/icedsoul/5034339229/
    not too bad or?
    I think your gut has to like it in the end and taste always differs. but if you were set out to get perfect clear pictures for a campaign und you end up with that I also get why that is bad :-)

    all the best,
    teymur.

  • Glenn said on October 13, 2010

    I always seem to be drawn to photos that are either a little “imperfect” or “ultra-perfect”, they both seem to scream vision and purpose. Went to Jay Maisel’s presentation last night, and as he always says “gesture is the most important element”. Better to sacrifice the technically perfect light, focus, white balance and anything else to capture that fleeting gesture that draws you in. That’s how I feel anyway, your mileage may vary.

  • Carl Spring said on October 13, 2010

    Accidents, on purpose, it doesn’t matter. Sometimes the best photograph breaks the rules. Whether that is putting your subject bang in the centre of the frame, or it be blowing a shot by dropping your shutter speed by mistake and ending up with something that speaks to people and makes your portfolio (not that I did that, ahem).

    Too many get caught up in the technical aspect of a shot. This you can learn. What you can’t learn is how to create an image that speaks to people. If you have time, you should experiment on every shoot. Whether that is trying a new modifier you made from some straws, glue and cardboard, or whether that is dragging a shutter, shooting out of focus etc.

    If you never try you will never fail, but you also will never succeed

  • Chase said on October 13, 2010

    I tweeted this yesterday:

    “Photogs – think like an artist, not a technician”

    Goes hand in hand and apropos for your post. Refreshing Arias.

  • christian anderl said on October 13, 2010

    isn’t that one of the most beautiful things about photography? that noone really can tell what a perfect image really is? after all it just has to touch eyes and heart of the one watching it … which is the art about it …

  • Broderick said on October 13, 2010

    It’s a good question, completely up to interpretation I guess. Some of the photos I’ve taken with imperfections I love. The final photo above is probably my favorite of the bunch, along with #3. This also reminds me that I should stop occasionally deleting photos on the camera before export… Mistakes can be beautiful creatures

  • marta said on October 13, 2010

    More people should embrace the art instead of the technical (myself included). I can’t wait to see the responses to this. A thread went seriously wrong in a forum over this very topic and I was ASTONISHED at the response. On purpose or on accident, the images still move the viewer and that is the ultimate intention. More and more today the “imperfect” are finding their ways into the commercial world as well (that being one of the biggest defenses to those against the imperfect). Just in the last 2 months Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters and many others have featured very similar imperfect images in their campaigns. Why? Because they grab the viewers attention. They make the viewer think, feel and react.

  • Brian Smith said on October 13, 2010

    “Sharpness is a bourgeois concept”

    –Henri Cartier-Bresson

  • Esther said on October 13, 2010

    I think we all have been watching too many pictures taken with an Iphone so our eye is being “compromised” by them.
    I would understand the third picture if it’s movement you are looking for, but for the rest… they don’t mean a thing to me. I think the only justification for imperfection (photography speaking) is if that imperfect picture is the only chance to grab what it shows, something happening very fast or under bad light conditions: what matters here it’s capturing the moment. Otherwise I don’t find imperfection interesting at all.
    On a personal basis, I’m constantly putting all my efforts in getting the best picture I can to justify “the unjustifiable”.

    BTW thanks for the CreativeLive videos! I’m watching them over again :)

  • Mitch Wong Ho said on October 13, 2010

    Left-brain vs Right-brain

    My feeling is this; if your intention is to paint into the lines and you, for some reason, cross the boundary, then in your terms/rules/limitation you’ve screwed up. However, if your intention is to just paint..well, anything is possible.

  • Tim said on October 13, 2010

    Who has the right to say what is perfect or imperfect in the realm of art? In photography, we leverage technology to express a vision.

    There are methods we are trained to help us achieve and share our vision, but no one has a right to say what is correct or incorrect. To do so destroys the very nature of art.

    When we confine our minds to these so called rules, we limit our creativity – the very thing we strive be.

    Whether by accident or not, these photographs are great for a reason. Focus on why these photos capture an emotion from you and you will see more perfections than you realize. It just wasn’t the ones you originally aimed to see.

  • Lydia said on October 13, 2010

    I think “executed perfectly for the job at hand” is the key. The standard of “perfection” is defined by the goal of the project. Blur, overexposed skies, composition that doesn’t follow the rules–all can be beautiful and perfect!

  • mary alice said on October 13, 2010

    i believe that a true artist follows no rules. if work speaks to the heart of the one who creates and resonates with those experiencing it, then it is the truest form of art.

  • Nathan Blaney said on October 13, 2010

    The images are compelling, so they force the viewer to decide whether they were intentional or not. Doesn’t matter really though – “happy accidents” lead to a lot of interesting results.

  • Jim said on October 13, 2010

    Being quick and simple: it’s a matter of soul, what the picture has inside to bring out emotions from you and the audience.

    And, of course, the rules are made to be broken :-)

  • Alex H said on October 13, 2010

    I think that if what the client is looking for is what you end up shooting than it’s no big deal. If they want an image that portrays emotion and will be used for various advertisements (the last picture) and yet shouldn’t be focused on one thing in particular then what you took makes sense. Photography is the capturing of light onto a medium. There is no mention that it has to be in focus, exposed properly, or framed correctly. Those are all things that are used to judge photography and to differentiate it from others. Sometimes the image that you create is unique and useful in the setting its intended for but not other settings. I think if the image moves you and the client likes it, then who cares what “critics” say.

  • Scott said on October 13, 2010

    Some of my favorite images have been oops moments – because the things I do on purpose are overly technical, very clean, static. The opps moments push beyond the box into the unexpected and when it hits its an amazing thing.

    Ultimately, it’s the image that matters. Sometimes the best image happens without thought and planning – just by being there and snapping the shutter. Not often, but every once in a while its a wonderful experience.

  • joseph tutlo said on October 13, 2010

    i like some of them. others not so much. but it doesn’t matter. if you like it, show it. (not just you, but anyone)

    and who cares how you got it. even if it’s a complete, unintended accident. if you keep it, it’s yours.

    as for imperfect work? my suggestion is to sell it to rolling stone.

    ” I wanna gather poo that no one else has discovered and pile it up on my head and sell myself to an art museum” -eddie izzard

  • Paul Mac Manus said on October 13, 2010

    Shoot from the heart more than the brain, yeah and the heart can get messy sometimes. I love the imperfections of old worn wood over the geometric perfection of factory produced product. Would Capa’s D.Day shots ever have gotten through today’s perfection filters? Lets’s not let the head smother the heart. Publish and be damned. Shoot from the heart.

  • Tracy said on October 13, 2010

    My own personal favourite of my photos isn’t perfect (I’ve linked to it up there, the first image)…I almost feel like I have to make an excuse for liking it though.
    Why do they have to be technically perfect, surely it’s about how it makes you feel, not if a follicle is in focus if you zoom in.

  • Teddy Carroll said on October 13, 2010

    Expression does not require perfection. Never has; never will.

  • Darryl said on October 13, 2010

    Hmmmmm.Creative Thinking…..you just solved the ‘Over saturation’ of the market problem……

  • Bruko said on October 13, 2010

    @ Andrew (.1) I think it’s really easy to spot when something like that is done with purpose or is just a screwup. Like in the images posted above: sure, they are blurry, yet the composition is there, exposure is there, post production is there.
    It’s like the difference between a beautiful woman with amazing clothes and makeup and apparently messy hair and a woman who is just messy. The hair might be the same, but the first woman probably wanted it like that.
    It might be an accident (since I think there is usually more experimenting involved when you are dealing with blur, movement and abstraction) but it can still have intention. A trained eye would recognize the one that tells a story between the 100 he might have taken. Take Paolo Roversi’s work. 3/4 of his stuff is out of focus, blurred and just amazingly beautiful.
    When my photos are blurry, they just look blurry.

    To me, the difference is on the storytelling.
    If I can make up a story behind the image, it works, for me. If there’s no story it has to be technically perfect to catch my attention (but I usually don’t remember it)

    Personally, images 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10 work exeptionally well for me, while 4, 6 and 7 are way less strong. So I guess there is a great deal of subjectivity in the choice of images.

  • Darryl said on October 13, 2010

    Anyways Zack…..

    Looks like you are moving on from your traditional style..seems like the masses will never be able to catch up with true pioneers….the masses are still trying to ‘copy’ your OneLight DVD style….I guess true artist forge their own paths !!!

  • delb0y said on October 13, 2010

    Does it have to be perfect?

    technically, NO.

    Visual Impact & emotional connection.

    I have thousands of photos of my son and if i had to save one i already know what one would be. That shot is OOF, has blown highlights and unintentional blur. I wasn’t even looking through the viewfinder when i took it, the emotional attachment is immense. Beautiful day, my favourite photo.

    Also worth a read…

    “We have embraced a marked shift from technical perfection to *raw visual impact*, and it’s paying off.”

    http://thurly.net/0615

  • Chris Horner said on October 13, 2010

    As a car nut, I’ll give you a parallel example. One of my favorite cars that I would drop hard money on is a Maserati GranTurismo. If you analyze it, the build quality is subpar. Ergonomics are a mess. The nav system is three generations behind. Flaws are easy to see – a byproduct of some of it being handbuilt as opposed to being built with machines and robots. Styling is beautiful, but ultimately compromises comfort and utility. Gas mileage sucks. But you know what? Put the accelerator down, listen to the engine sing, feel the suspension tighten in a corner you know it shouldn’t be able to take, feel it nail shifts like a F1 car, and you instantly forget about all the ‘quirks’. You just want to drive on and on and on. If your heart isn’t racing as fast as the engine then you are probably dead.

    So what if its competitors will outrun it? Or are more usable? Or more technically sophisticated? They still don’t garner the passion that the Maser does.

    It’s the same with the above pictures. There’s something that invokes your emotions in spite of the ‘technical’ flaws. They are works of art.

    Just like the Maserati.

  • Kerry Loudenback said on October 13, 2010

    I’d have to say all my “artistic” image have always been created with careful thought and planning. ;-)

    The answer is yes… A screwed-up image, (if done correctly) can work.

    I vote for images 1,3,5,6,8

    Kerry

  • Mars said on October 13, 2010

    Hey Zack,

    Did you use a Holga lense in any of these?

    Cheers
    Mars

  • zack said on October 13, 2010

    @Andrew – Great point. I have a similar question. Look at this photo…

    http://img.listal.com/image/728006/600full-johnny-cash.jpg

    Is is a great portrait because it is Johnny Cash or is it just a great portrait? I’m not here to make the judgement on that. Just bring up the question… When it comes to portraits of well known people are those portraits great because of who it is or is it just a great portrait no matter who was in it?

    I typically side with the “it is sometimes just a great portrait because of who it is and not the portrait itself.”

    Cheers,
    Zack

  • zack said on October 13, 2010

    @Mars – Nope. Just long shutter speeds usually or blowing focus. One picture was made by taking the lens off the camera body and just sort of holding in front of the camera.

    Cheers,
    Zack

  • /\/\ark said on October 13, 2010

    Does imperfect photography work? Yes!

    Does it always work? No.

    I believe, as with most images, paintings or art in general, it has to speak to you somehow. It has to appeal to you some of your basic senses.

    It’s like saying a Picaso isn’t a great painting because it does not capture a “realistic” view. Bullcrap!

    But sometimes, much like if I were to throw some paint at an easel and call it “art”, it just doesn’t.

    For me, the images above all work except for #6 and #9.
    My brain screams at #6 to get in focus or go out of focus. I think maybe if only one person was in focus, or only one person out of focus, it would work. The background line of brighter light displeases me in #9. It would work for me if it was more symetrical.

    In end, it’s what pleases you, or pleases the client.
    Who are we to question anyone’s artistic vision?

    Mark

  • Andy S. said on October 13, 2010

    @Zack #32

    I think the subject definitely matters. If that were a senior photo the photographer would be taken out back and lashed. Johnny Cash (and many others) are badass enough to be shot like that and it’s not cheesy. What makes it a great portrait is that the photographer (I assume) knew that he could pull it off with Johnny Cash. Even in the photos above the subject is part of the appeal. The “accident” fits them for whatever reason.

    @Andrew
    I think that the artists DEFINITELY matters. It’s not as easy to assume that Arias, Kelby, Jarvis….any of those guys have accidents. We know it happens, but in general when I see their work I assume it was thought out and planned down to the letter and it doesn’t need an explanation to be accepted. Myself/other amateurs, on the other hand, couldn’t get away with those shots without trying to explain them.

    Anywho, on the the subject of the post…

    I have always been adamant that “art” and “perfection” are kind of like oil and water. When I first took interest in photography I was overwhelmed by the “rules” that existed. After latching on to some other more seasoned people I realized that sometimes “technically perfect” and “good photo” were worlds apart. The photos posted wouldn’t work for a CEO, but they rock because it fits the mood of the subject.

    I think over obsessing with the technical side of photography can kill ones creativity very quickly. It’s a visual art…if it can make someone want to stop and look at it then does it really matter if it was planned out for a week, or if it was just a happy accident?

  • neal carpenter said on October 13, 2010

    I love blurring images. There is a fine line between great and crap, but when it is good, it is very good.

  • Christopher said on October 13, 2010

    I saw Jay Maisel speak last night and his quote on the rules was “Fuck the rules; so what if you have blown out highlights? Who cares. It’s your picture right!” He could nto have been more right.

  • Luke Copping said on October 13, 2010

    I think in the end, viewers care only for the results and not the process. If an image is technically flawed, but has emotional impact, personal resonance, or aesthetic appeal, than it still works. Conversely, a technically perfect image, which serves no purpose or fails to elicit a reaction or response from anyone is not as successful.

  • Jason Sheesley said on October 13, 2010

    I think we all need to keep a few photos photos like these (which I enjoy) to remind us that art doesn’t require as much control as we think. To think that anything outside our control is automatically flawed is an admission of perfection. Ha!

    By all means, be disciplined and learn your craft, but keep you mind open enough and you ego in check enough to allow the happy accidents to find a place in your body of work.

  • Jimmy said on October 13, 2010

    I think it’s a matter of intent. Does the photo blow because you simply suck at photography? I would argue that the photographer you referenced does that on purpose. I’m sure that he quite capable taking technically competent photos, but he chooses to do otherwise for dramatic effect. If he’s not capable of taking a proper photo, then he is the worlds greatest con artist … or a total genius. Both?

    When I was in photo school learning the 4×5, I had the bellows stretched out pretty far for a portrait so I could do a really tight headshot. I pulled my polaroid … really dark. I forgot to compensate for the extra distance that the light had to travel to reach the film. I opened the lens up a stop … still dark … but I liked it. So for that assignment I continued to shoot all my film a stop dark. When I turned it in, did my teacher rip me a new one for turning in underexposed film? Nope. He said something like, “I know that you know how to make a proper exposure, and since you know ‘the rules’, your’e allowed to break them for your creative interpretation”. That was paraphrased.
    I don’t think that there is any artistic merit to sucking and not being able to take a proper photo, but knowing WHEN to take an improper “bad” photo and standing behind it makes the difference.
    Happy accidents are perfectly acceptable, but you can’t build a career off of accidents. If you don’t know what you’re doing, there’s no way to predict the outcome and your accidents will be more frequent but also more catastrophic. And that’s when you cross the fine line between garbage and greatness.

    Andy S. said:
    “I think over obsessing with the technical side of photography can kill ones creativity very quickly. It’s a visual art…if it can make someone want to stop and look at it then does it really matter if it was planned out for a week, or if it was just a happy accident?”
    Right on. All of your comments were spot-on. I used to obsess over the technical details too much, and when I did I found that the creativity took a backseat. Now, I know the rules, and I can choose to ignore them if the project allows for it. However, I think it’s really important to know the rules before you break them. Prove that you can be a competent photographer before you decide to break rules to be an artistic one.

    I also like what Mark said:
    “Does imperfect photography work? Yes!
    Does it always work? No.”

  • Lou Janelle said on October 13, 2010

    One thing about the “imperfect” pictures: they make you think. Now, that’s perfection!

  • JonDM said on October 13, 2010

    Are you really blowing it if it’s done on purpose and it’s the look you’re going for? It’s more of a personal choice to call accidents art or errors intentional, but as long as you’re “ok” with it then that should be all that matters.

  • Mark Millar said on October 13, 2010

    As I understand it, Capa’s photos on Omaha were all burned by the staff in the dark room (funny it was Burrows). They were also all blurry (likely because he was shaking). Still, they are more than just a product of how they were taken, they contain the emotion of the moment more so than a technically perfect image likely would, because of their technical imperfection.
    Accident, yes; art, likely; cultural icons, certainly. Technical imperfection, either intentional or unintentional can help us see into the life of things. To pin intention to value is, at least in my opinion, a mistake.
    Funny, I just posted on this last week. Two dancers in BA, the entire dance hall felt a little wobbly and in the middle of movement, how else could I have captured it? Given the lighting, practically speaking, no other way?

  • TroyK said on October 13, 2010

    Most people would not ask for an imperfect house but they would decorate it with imperfect stuff or paint it with the wrong color technically speaking but that is what makes it their own. If we only demanded technically perfect art then Lady Gaga would be working as a barista not as an “artist”. Remember when the “shaky camera” technique started showing up in every film? To me it was annoying but now it’s almost expected and appreciated because it allows you to put your own feelings into the film, therefore everyone has a slightly different experience.

  • Robert said on October 14, 2010

    Well … I suppose there are those shots and clients that demand technical perfection … then there are those times where the technically imperfect is perfect.

    I would have thought that part of the business is knowing when technical perfection is required …

  • steph said on October 14, 2010

    I think I suffered motion sickness from looking at those all right in a row, though.

  • adam said on October 14, 2010

    my absolute favorite painting style is abstract expressionism, especially pollack and DeKooning. Some may say it’s just random splattering because of the lack of illusionistic perfection. I see the process, and the beauty.

  • adam said on October 14, 2010

    p.s. my fav is the third from the top, makes me think of fringe or something. subject blurring into the background, wonderful

  • Glyn Dewis said on October 14, 2010

    I guess this is the great thing about photography; it can be exactly what you want it to be.

    Rules are there to be broken and in this case when they are it can produce some really interesting results.

    IMO if a picture stops you in your tracks and makes you really look at it then it’s a winner…be it technically perfect or not.

    Just my opinion,
    Cheers, Glyn

  • EMaster said on October 14, 2010

    Too many people overthinking this – a photo either works or it doesn’t, and when it does you know it when you see it.

  • ST said on October 14, 2010

    Another great question Zack. :)

    Sometimes we are asked to get out of the box in order to create an original artwork. So when we get out of the box, we just let light in. Perfect or imperfect is not a problem. If anyone likes our work it was a blessing, if anyone does not like it’s not a curse.

    cheers..

  • Eddy said on October 14, 2010

    Life is not perfect, but sometimes beautiful because of it’s imperfections.

    Motion is life.

    A still is like a moment.

    A blur/motion shot takes you a second further than the moment, and then your mind takes you on a journey into what happend next.

  • Luke said on October 14, 2010

    I don’t like the word wrong. I love Greg Williams. I think he gets it right every time. And Chase, of course. Would you rather be a technician or an artist?

  • Tim Skipper said on October 14, 2010

    To paraphrase an old saying: “Wrong is in the eye of the beholder”.

  • brec__ said on October 14, 2010

    why post questions you already know the answer to ;)

  • chris said on October 14, 2010

    “One picture was made by taking the lens off the camera body and just sort of holding in front of the camera.”
    Bless your cotton socks Zack, I was doing the same thing back in the film days :-) Works great even if you do (ahem) lose a bit of contrast.

  • zack said on October 14, 2010

    @Chris – Not to mention a dirty sensor! :)

  • Scott Scully said on October 14, 2010

    Remember that as photographers and artists we have a slightly different take on ‘imperfect’ work, we can see it’s artistic value. Personally i love it, but would a client browsing your portfolio feel the same way? Just a thought…

  • IPBrian said on October 14, 2010

    I too have a tendency to love the imperfect photo. I am always drawn to form, color and contrast before the perfect technical shot. Like they say, one blurred photo is a mistake, 10 an experiment, and 100 is a style.

  • Paul Conrad said on October 14, 2010

    You mention that you wouldn’t live in a house that wasn’t perfect. I lived in a house that was built in the late 1600′s in Germany. It was far from the “perfect” house. Doors and floors were crooked, ceilings were low, beams were exposed, and the bathroom hung over the alley and had no insulation. It was also by an immeasurable degree the most interesting and coolest house I have ever lived in. I think the same applies to photography. Can a “perfect” house be interesting as well? Sure, but most aren’t. It is the same with a lot of “perfect” images. They just aren’t as interesting.

  • Javier Sanchez said on October 14, 2010

    Photography is about compromise. We strive to get it all right, all the time, but the one thing we can’t control (our subject) can often surprise us and catch us off-guard. Luck favors the prepared, so as long as you were able to capture the emotion and/or the moment, the rest becomes less important.

    When you start playing music, you train to play the notes on precisely on time along with a metronome, but as you advance and the metronome is ingrained in your head, you can play the notes behind or ahead of the beat.

    In the arts, if not in life, you learn the rules, but those who are most successful know when its OK to break them.

  • Surly said on October 14, 2010

    On the images shown:
    #1 I don’t think it works
    #2,3 I think these work effectively to show motion. I like em.
    #4 I don’t care for this one
    #5 This is my favorite and I love and hate it at the same time. Not sure why.
    #6 This one says the singer and guitar player are important, we can always get a new drummer and bass player.
    #7 Meh
    #8 I like this one. The blur works.
    #9 Like it.
    #10 I would think this would be great in a travel brochure or the like.

    On the Cash image – no way would that have worked with Johnny Average. A picture of a musician with his instrument, doesn’t that break one of your rules?

    I certainly think the imperfect shot has it’s place. It certainly has many caveats. If you were trying to show them at a gallery vs. a CD cover vs. a corp. annual report. they might all be edited in or out depending on the audience/client.

    One thing that bothers me are photographers who hide behind poor technique and call it a style. Terry Richardson comes to mind. I cringe whenever I see that man’s “work”. Of course, I’m writing this from a cubicle and he’s had a Playboy cover.

    Thanks -
    Matt Mengel

  • mike_Levad said on October 14, 2010

    I agree with Jimmy @41 It really is a matter of intent. If you are a terrible photographer and get a happy accident your chance of reproducing it are near nil. We all get goofs that might be beautiful. Then the intentionality comes in the recognition of a beautiful photo and choosing not to hit the delete key.

  • matthew blassey said on October 14, 2010

    I think in some cases a sub par technically created image can really evoke a strong emotion or feeling within the viewer that in a lot of ways is more important and priceless than the opposite.

    life can be a blur…memories can be a blur…why cant imagery ?

  • Gr@n! said on October 14, 2010

    I think it is alright to mess up a photo because it is a different form of photography. I think Arias did a good job at taking these pictures. They are to the point that you can still see what it is without straining your eyes too much. One of the pictures is very blurred but if it wasn’t then it would be very dull. I think if a student wanted to attempt this that he should go ahead and try it. The teacher however needs to be supportive but picky in order to make the student learn that you can’t just randomly blur images. That you have to think about it and maybe have to redo it several times. I really like this form of photography. Good job Zack Arias!

  • Peter said on October 14, 2010

    maybe the issue with “imperfect” photos is that it’s *easier* to dislike them, hence they get dismissed more often? Then we (as photographers) become conditioned to not show them for fear of rejection.

    If a viewer doesn’t like a ‘technically correct’ image they may have no way to express it…and the image is accepted, even if it’s not loved.

    If a viewer doesn’t like an ‘imperfect’ image, they can say something as simple as, “it’s out of focus, FAIL”.
    So, we become scared of the technical. Perfect becomes the enemy of good art. We strive to have ALL our images be “likeable”, instead of having some of our images be “lovable”.

    In the end, I think, the question the photographer must ask his/her self is,”Is this the vision that *I* want to show?”
    If “yes”, then damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!

    of course, I say this, but I rarely follow this advice in my own work; still scared of the easy dismissal.

  • Peter said on October 14, 2010

    btw, Zack, the second photo blows me away. For whatever reason, it hits me right between the eyes.

  • TimR said on October 14, 2010

    Flickr is full of different groups devoted to specific “effects” or whatever you want to call them–motion blur, out of focus, camera movement, pure bokeh, etc. Some beautiful stuff, and a real eye-opener to the creative possibilities of photography. It has nothing to do with logic or “perfection”–it’s all about the emotion.

  • Dwayne D.C. Tucker II said on October 14, 2010

    You might not want to buy an imperfect house but if the house was built but an artist that builds homes imperfect for a reason even if the reason is not to build it like others then you might want that imperfect house…just a response of my logic.


    DT.
    Miami, Florida | Nassau, Bahamas

  • Hafe said on October 14, 2010

    I think that photography is subject to a greater mass appeal effect than other forms of art. This is especially true for a “commercial” photographer. Where most work is clean and concise for the broad appeal effect. But photography is an art and shots like the aforementioned and linked are purely visually and sometimes emotionally stunning. While it may not be your idea of perfect (insert technique) it may be mine. And as long as an image captures a viewer’s attention or even better respect then it’s been done correctly.
    But that is just my two cents.

    FYI love those shots.

    -HAFE

  • Erin said on October 14, 2010

    #8 is the booomb! I love the last one too.

    They are perfect.

  • Andrew Rutherford said on October 14, 2010

    4, 7 and 8 are the coolest. I love blurry imperfect photos.

  • Scott Eide said on October 14, 2010

    Photography is a art, and Art can be everything as long as you have reason why you made it that way.

  • Greg said on October 14, 2010

    I would have mixed feelings about putting these in a portfolio. Probably the biggest gotcha is “can you produce images like these on cue” and similarly, “do you want to?” If these are just happy accidents, then I’d leave them out for that reason alone.

    As far as technical perfection goes, it’s definitely not a requirement, and “technical perfection” really never is.

    As for these specific images:
    #1 This is just a blurry photograph. I’ve tried to imagine it in all kinds of contexts and I just keep coming back to it being a blurry photograph.
    #2 Shows motion. Just fine. Also, this one works to get the “dreamy” feel without the discomfort of #1.
    #3 Shows motion, a little more artsy than #2, better for the inside of the CD jacket.
    #4 I like the IDEA of this photograph, but not the execution. I think something about the interaction of her strong makeup and the motion is distracting.
    #5 I agree with Surly, love-hate. I love the light, I like the blurry but at the same time part of me WANTS it to be sharp.
    #6 Undecided.
    #7 No. I like the color, but if I’m the band buying it, I want to see the band. If I want a stock shot of a generic band I would like this, but I don’t think that’s your market.
    #8 By FAR my favorite. This one says “I’m the spoiled lead singer. I don’t know who the rest of these guys behind me are, or why they’re crashing my photo shoot.” This is one of the classic band persona.
    #9 It works. I suspect it would have more meaning with some context.
    #10 Composition is great, I like the blown highlights but… that has to be a natural pose because it looks so… uncomfortable.

    Most of the things we’re looking at here aren’t what I’d call imperfections, they’re choices (or mistakes) that step outside the normal recommended boundaries. The result of those choices is a photograph with certain unusual characteristics, which is a resultingly good, bad, or indifferent image.

  • Mike Campbell said on October 14, 2010

    I think that “imperfect” photography is something all photographers will be drawn to at some point.

    I think that much of it comes from the way we learn to shoot and light. We start learning very strict rules (rule of thirds, 1:3 lighting ratios etc). We then start to learn to bend the rules and suddenly our pictures start to look like our pictures instead of everyone elses pictures and a style evolves. Then as we get comfortable in our style we need to push things again in order to move our imagery forward and stay inspired and creative. So we now break the technical rules and create something quite different. However because of the progression and using these “rules”, when it’s time to break them there is a built in ability to still create visually interesting images – because when all is said and done, isn’t that the purpose of the rules in the first place??

    I’d like to also say that I love this series of images you’ve shared. There are some that have a very Avedon feel to them – well executed but they still ring true as your images and not an attempt to be a copy of Avedon’s work.

    Cheers!!

  • Rob Wise said on October 14, 2010

    Usually houses are bought on premise of function, not sentiment. Art has one foot in both places, it can be functional and not sentimental, and be a decent picture. It can be sentimental and not functional, and be a decent picture. If it is neither, it doesn’t really qualify as art, it’s just pixels on a sensor.

  • Jaleel King said on October 14, 2010

    Too funny. I do this more often than not; just because I can. I often like the end results because their different. Nothing wrong with different!

  • Samuel Pinero said on October 14, 2010

    Zack,

    I am all for imperfect photos on purpose when it comes to things like focus, or color or lighting, but some of these photos actually make me physically ill. These photos and lensbaby type photos give me, for lack of a better word, vertigo, and make me want to hurl when I look at them. I know some other people that have the same reaction.

    Specifically 4, 6, 7, and 8. I am not commenting on the artistic merits of these photos, even though I could put down (critique) anyone’s picture if I look at it long enough. I just can’t look at these without a bucket beside me.

    My concern, and it does not apply to you, is the number of photographers out there whose pictures ALL look like this. As if there is no thought to focus or exposure. My shots may suck, but the right thing generally is in focus.

    Sam – first time commenter.

  • Jorge Moreno said on October 14, 2010

    It goes to show that Photography has no rules.

  • Natalie said on October 14, 2010

    I also like the imperfect.

    But I think it is important to know how to do the imperfect and not just do anything. You know what I mean?… and in order to do that you need to master your technique and then you can blow it. Picasso knew exactly how to draw perfectly and then, after he had all the technique he preferred the images distorted and out of proportion. He blew it on purpose. That’s what art is all about. Break some rules and find yourself.

  • Edd Carlile said on October 14, 2010

    Each to his own in the end.
    Recently was handed a photo book by a photographer here in Hungary to look at….all the images (about 40) were black&white showing a breast or bum in an extreme blurred swirl of movement.
    Now….one or two examples in a body of diverse work I can relate to that….but such a large collection of sameness left my blood cold.
    Each to his own in the end.

  • tonya said on October 14, 2010

    I don’t think it’s fair to label a photo as perfect or imperfect. On whose authority does one decide which are weeds and which are flowers? Only the person whose garden they’re in.

  • Benjamin Lea said on October 14, 2010

    You’re not affraid to post something new and or that may not be ‘technically’ correct

    I guess thats why your where you are. I always hear you talk about feeling like your going nowhere esp when you look at those aroudn you but consider this; Maybe its because your just doing something different?

    Maybe your just setting such a trend you feel like your alone?

    People will catch up as someone said a few lines up everyone is still trying to master OneLight – You’re just in another league

    FYI – Image 6 is my fav. Keep up the great work and I cant wait to see your BTS studio video!

    Ben

  • Sehmuzb said on October 14, 2010

    ‘Imperfect’ based on what standard? As long as it fits your vision and communicates your message clearly they should be ‘perfect’ for you. It becomes part of your ‘style’.

    I am sure some artists consider(ed) Picasso, or Dali and even Van Gogh ‘Imperfect’ because they did not follow the norm of their time. They just follow their vision and just created masterpieces.

    There are a lot of photographers breaking the rules out there. As the rest of the art forms breaking the rules requires understanding and experience in perfect execution of them. Without that understanding your creative process lacks the intent and it becomes just experimentation rather than a process driven by vision.

    Kudos to you that you are at a crossroads right now and moving into a new direction with your photography. I am just beginning my journey.

  • Shane Savage said on October 14, 2010

    I have some of these, I wanted to throw them away but didn’t. turned out that a musician that I shoot for submitted them to his distribution company and they liked them more than all the other photos, Go figure.

    “There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs” – Ansel Adams

    needs to be coupled with
    “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”

    Those two together define artistic photography.

  • abe said on October 14, 2010

    that third one down just gives me goosebumps…perfect imperfection Zack.

  • Adrian said on October 15, 2010

    I do not think is about IMPERFECTION or PERFECTION but I think that the game is about CREATIVITY, and if you can use imperfection or perfection to express your vision on an image you are the winner.

    For the question:
    I wouldn’t want to buy an “imperfect” house. Why do I like “imperfect” photography?

    Things are complicated and relative here, but my opinion is that we like it just because they are unique or different. But different is appreciated differently by persons, and here we are starting with the art of compromise….

    Great work man, congratulations, really inspiring.

    Cheers
    Adrian

  • miguelmartin.es said on October 15, 2010

    My opinion?
    Second and last are awesome. I see the PURPOSE of being imperfect.

    But I do not see the purpose on the other ones (I might be missing something), so I do not like ‘em at all.

  • sunith said on October 15, 2010

    I liked only the fifth image of the man with a dark background. Had a nice eerie feel to it. But the rest looked contrived. It almost seems like you were trying too hard to perfect the imperfection.

    This is just a subjective opinion. I believe perfect or imperfect photography doesn’t really matter if you are able to convey the emotion or the essence of image you have in your mind’s eye. I might underexpose and overload the contrast of an image to the extend that the only thing you can see are two violent eyes staring at you through darkness. Surely the histogram would be in the dustbin, but the impact of the image would be greater. Again, this is subjective to me. I capture the world as I see it through my eyes.

    If there are others who sees it the same way, they might be able to relate to my images.

    Underexposed, oversaturated, soft focus… its all here: http://www.lomography.com/photos

  • Dino Tiongco said on October 15, 2010

    Zack,
    Its like the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Engineering department screwed up big time on that joint. but hey, thousands of people still go there to take a snap shot of that “imperfect” tower.

    The Mona lisa by Leonardo Da Vinci, If you check background, the perspective on the right side has a different perspective from the left. “Technically” this is not right. and in reality it is not possible. But its the work of Leonardo. He has earned his prestige in his craft so it will do.

    Cheers!
    Dino

  • Nik Player said on October 15, 2010

    Who is to say what is imperfect ? That is the real question you are asking. What is art ? Its an age old philosophical question that will never be answered.

  • Judea Jacksin said on October 15, 2010

    2,3,5, 7 & 8.
    I think the thing is that a photograph, as opposed to a house is meant to evoke an emotion where as a house is meant for lots of things including emotion, but it is utilitarian in nature.
    Great work as always!

  • david said on October 15, 2010

    In the days of film i used to get a real kick out of some of the first exposures on a roll It would be a mixture of fog and out of focus nothing that you would get when you were advancing the film. It all comes down to what moves you. Perfectly imperfect.

  • Phil said on October 15, 2010

    As technology has changed what we consider tack sharp has also changed but does that mean old photos taken with equipment that does not meet today’s standards are not great images?

    I like photography because it is a way to express yourself as much as a way to capture realistic moments in time. So for me not having every component of the image perfect (whatever that means to each person) is part of creativity. Whether it is intentional or an accident if the result makes you feel a connection to the picture on some level then that is a result.

    I have been experimenting with intentional camera movement because I wanted to create some images that had a specific mood or feel. Sometimes they are successful sometimes not. That’s the great thing about photography.

    As with all artistic and subjective activities some will love the pictures others won’t.

    Thanks for sharing your work and thoughts. Personally I find these photos inspiring and thought provoking.

    Cheers, Phil

  • christian anderl said on October 16, 2010

    i love “imperfect” work. a picture that feels good, just feels good, no matter if it’s technically right or wrong… found this f.e in one of ky latest shoots, and i kinda like it:

    http://www.christiananderl.com/photoblog/index.php?showimage=67

  • Sina said on October 16, 2010

    I did that when I am boring. Then when I posted it, a friend asked me why only 2 photos are not blur. Then my answer is why only famous photographer can do that. :p

    this is my shoot. http://bluecontainer.posterous.com/playing-with-her

  • Matthew Carter said on October 16, 2010

    This definitely goes back to soul in pictures. We are visual communicators. How do these images make viewers feel? What do they communicate about the subjects? One of my favorite things about shooting with polaroid was not worrying about perfection. I didn’t even own a tripod back then. In high school, I’d ride to fast food places and shoot the workers as a surprise with polaroid. In my concealment, there was always motion blur with the polaroid and I loved the look. Unfortunately I’ve lost all those images but they were some of my favorites. I’ve been shooting some architectural stuff as of late completely out of focus. I just love the look. It just feels good. Reminds me of listening to bands like Belle + Sebastian that weren’t that great technically but just made beautiful things. Thumbs up sir.

  • Dan Kaufman said on October 16, 2010

    it’s a question of context. Ultimately the creator–the photographer, the artist–puts his/her signature on the work saying “this is mine”. If the context for the work is a commercial shoot then the “mistakes” of the work may or may not be appropriate. For a work representing a musician the “mistakes” may well impart a mysterious take on the subject–and in this case IT WORKS. But if the commercial shoot is an architectural assignment, then motion blurs due to a slow shutter speed may very well be inappropriate and therefore IT DOESN’T WORK.

    If the context of the photograph is “fine art photography”–well then, anything goes, for as we all know: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

    Why then are these works here in Zack’s “first cut” for his portfolio? I’d venture to say because he is an artist with the skill set of a photographer.

    Only the artist knows when “something works” for his/her creation. If that something is a motion blur or a wrong exposure…only the artist/creator can say whether or not it works for him/her in the context of the work. BUT at the same time it is still–always–up to the viewer of the work to say/judge whether the piece works for them.

    For the “mistake pieces” here, for me, for most of them, they work. They don’t say to me “this photographer doesn’t know how to work a camera” they say “this photographer is an artist who knows how to make a choice” AND THAT is a skill that I would look for were I looking to hire this photographer.

    Years ago I saw a beautiful “coffee table book” on the incredible cabinetry of James Krenov. And I mean incredibly beautiful !!! And in the introduction James wrote, that when he is working on a piece and a mistake occurs, he often smiles and continues to work to preserve that mistake. For this mistake says that THIS WAS MADE BY A MAN, NOT A MACHINE.

    Make your “mistakes” Zack for they tell me they were made by an artist, not a camera.

  • gRomero said on October 16, 2010

    so…

    let me get this straight or at least try to get something…

    are you asking if its valid for a photographer as you (with great business recognition) or for any other successful photographer to take blurry, out of focus, bad exposure pictures on their portfolio? and get paid by the clients for a job like that and this point of view is not valid for any other photographer who is in school or starting a career because the same pictures don’t deliver a technical expertise?

    i do agree with andrew at the very first blog response…

  • Pablo said on October 16, 2010

    Zack,

    I’ve been abusing and plagiarizing your lighting techniques I learned at your workshop.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/pabblo/5087034685/

  • fred said on October 17, 2010

    There is _no_such_thing_ as wrong exposure (light, composition, etc.).

    There _is_ such a thing as wrong exposure (etc) for a desired result.

    If you as photographer want crisp focus and large dof and shoot joggers at 2.8 in low light out of a moving vehicle, then your result will (presumably) be wrong. Doesn’t mean it won’t be a great shot, nor one you can’t use, just not the one you were after.

    If you, Zack, like these shots, can repeat this type of shot, and want to shoot this type of shot, then they (or similar) absolutely belong in your portfolio.

    If they communicate something you want to express, then they belong in your portfolio.

    I thought one of the purposes of knowing the right way was being able to know when and how to use the wrong way to achieve your desired goals… but that’s just me…

  • Jessica Sweeney said on October 17, 2010

    I love all these images, and I love the feelings they evoke, kind of like the feeling of peace you get while riding in a train and watching the countryside swoosh by. I think it’s a lot more difficult to make beautiful blurry photos than it might seem to someone who hasn’t tried it. I have, and I haven’t kept a single one. But if I got the right one, I would.

    Anyway, kudos for being brave on this one. I loved this post.

  • Jessica Sweeney said on October 17, 2010

    PS That photo of the dancer makes me think of Degas. Shouldn’t all ballerinas be a swirl of pink froth?

  • Chris Bergstrom said on October 17, 2010

    Zack,

    You told me not to purposely blow out highlights in my photographs. I often do this for effect and now you like it? lol I know, you’re human too and may like oddities, such as I do. Often times, capturing the mood or happenings is much more important than capturing the scene technically correct. Passion will always win against perfection IMHO!

    –Chris

  • rock said on October 17, 2010

    I’m happy you’re giving us all of these insights and lessons for free, but when are we going to learn something less techincal? You know, like how to make a wet computer out of Strong Bad’s computer, or how to make coasters out of old Sega tapes. These are the lessons the interwebs sorely need.

  • zack said on October 18, 2010

    @rock – :)

  • Jared said on October 17, 2010

    because perfect photography is boring! Its the difference between living in a steril laboratory and a well worn in house.

  • Christopher said on October 17, 2010

    I recently photographed a public garden just for fun & relaxation. After a few frames, I could hear the proverbial needle-on-the-album come to a screeching halt. Too boring. Too typical. So I jacked up the ISO and set my lens to manual focus. The results are some pretty cool out of focus very grainy images. Deliberate? Yes. Perfect? No. Satisfying? So much so that I couldn’t care less about anyone else’s opinion.

  • Sandi said on October 18, 2010

    I think ‘Perfect’ is overrated and a term thrown around relentlessly by college professors and print judgers world-bound. It all comes down to “was it a good accident?” if it wasn’t what you were going for, do you want it to represent your brand? The key, I believe, is to take the best of the “worst” and keep them to a minimum given the objective of your portfolio. It’s just that, if you intend to offer up a portfolio thick with “accidents”, perhaps your client is going to come to expect it. In the end, best foot forward, wear the nice shirt, show what you want to shoot, make the “accidents” interesting add-ins. That’s my opinion at the least. The only question YOU have to ask yourself, dear Zack, is: “How many do I show?” Keep your goals in mind, and mind your ratio.

    Peace,
    Sandi – Fotostorm Inc. London, ON

  • Rupa said on October 18, 2010

    some may say ‘imperfect’, i might say ‘evokes emotion’, ‘in the moment’, ‘perfectly imperfect’!

  • DJH said on October 19, 2010

    Isn’t that what you call “Fine Art” Mar Arias.

    I love blurry shots, on the right shot it adds a certain something

  • Dana F said on October 19, 2010

    There is something raw and mysterious that comes from capturing these moments in between. Having them perfectly imperfect only enhances the feeling that you are catching a glimpse of the “real” soul to the subject.

  • William said on October 19, 2010

    Zack-
    I took your onelight class in January and it was awesome. As for “perfect”, what is perfect, and should there ever really be a defined set of parameters for what a “technically perfect” photo should be? Photography is art, and beauty is and should be always in the eye of the beholder. Someone will always like a photograph or piece of art that someone else wouldn’t want to wipe their ass with. Thanks for giving me tons of inspiration to conquer many of my photographic fears and I can’t wait to see your RS Cover!

  • bryan karl lathrop said on October 20, 2010

    The keyword here is subjectivity (we could probably add relativity in there too)…we dance between the technical and the artistic, with a 1001+ ways to “skin a cat.” A shot that may be perfect for one job may not for be for another. But perfection [or imperfection] is a relative concept, especially in the subjective world that we photographers inhabit.

  • Andrew said on October 20, 2010

    Zack…it’s the imperfections that make us, well, perfect!

    It’s great to see you articulating that through your work.

    Keep it coming.

  • Rachael said on October 20, 2010

    Maybe it’s because we can imagine what we want about the photo. Because it’s not a crystal clear reflection of reality we can imagine what it might be. Therefore, we establish more of a relationsip with the photo?

    Or it’s just cool…

  • Wes said on October 21, 2010

    In life there are plethora of imperfect moments, some are silly, funny, sad, and let’s face it too many are downright stupid. But they tend, in the recesses of our mind to paint certain realizations… And sometimes in photography there’s that perfect imperfect reflection of a moment which causes one to reassess ones perspective of what is perfect.

  • CW said on October 21, 2010

    I believe there is such a thing as breaking rules for a reason, but then you have photographers who haven’t learned the rules to begin with (new age photographers)… There is a vast difference between these two as far as I’m concerned. There is a specific intent or purpose for shooting in such a way. It still takes a professional to provide consistent results to client.

    Unfortunately times have changed and the clients are either uneducated or don’t know any better…

  • claude etienne said on October 21, 2010

    Hi Zack,

    I like the second, third, and the last one. I think they best convey the idea of an image not being technically perfect but still being aesthetically pleasing. I like the new logo btw. On another note, I hope that the studio tour is still coming this month. I’m really looking forward to it.

  • DJH said on October 22, 2010

    Agree. Great work again and ineresting blog…

  • Marleny said on October 23, 2010

    Zach, while these are “technically incorrect” they are wonderful, especially 2,3, 9 and 10. The way these were shot, and lit (i.e.#9) convey a certain emotion that would be conveyed had it been shot “correct”. My favorite is #10 the shot of the girl at the beach. It is amazing!! The picture is not about her, it’s about that water, the sky (even though it is blown) and the grandeur of it all. She represents each one of us, we were put here to enjoy all that surrounds us. We should skip and run, and enjoy the breeze as it caresses our face with each stride…! Thanks! this post is my fave so far. It reminds me to think outside the box…to see perfection in the imperfections! I needed that this morning!

  • Marleny said on October 23, 2010

    I have to add, were these mistake shots?? or were they purposefully shot this way. To me it would seem that as photographers we should know how to achieve an “imperfect” shot to communicate an emotion; in the end the author of the images knows they are technically incorrect, but he/she purposefully shot them that way for the end result. Does that make sense?

  • zack said on October 24, 2010

    @Marleny – These were all blown on purpose. The techniques used were learned though from making mistakes.

    Cheers,
    Zack

  • OPINION said on October 23, 2010

    Zack

    I lIKe your new brand name, the “Z” BUT I am afraid it does not integrate well with the rest of the design, it does not do well with your blog. The background I don’t think is a good idea. I would live to see the images along in a clean background. The background it doesn’t upset me at all but it would do well as an introduction only and then should be a jump to the portfolio area .

    This is my humble opinion.

  • zack said on October 24, 2010

    @Opinion – I agree. The blog is being redesigned from the ground up right now. I’m currently pimping my work with some of the new branding in place and I needed to bring things together best I could for now.

    Cheers,
    Zack

  • Ryan said on October 24, 2010

    The most important thing is that the picture mean something to the photographer, without the meaning, its all meaningless ….

  • Stephanie Saclolo said on October 24, 2010

    I feel that your analogy is more flawed than your photography. A house is something that is functional. For it to be imperfect would mean that your safety, warmth, etc. would be compromised. An intentional imperfect house would be a novelty, such as a fun house at a carnival. Photography can be more likened to clothing. At times functionality trumps creativity, but most of the time expression is at the very least equal in value to purpose. A passport photo needs to be functional and therefore technically correct. Most forms of photography are representative of vision, and epression, creativity, art, style…whatever you want to call it is as important or more important that the functionality of being a recording of what we see with the eye.

  • Dawn said on October 25, 2010

    Who wants to look at perfect art?

  • Kristina said on October 26, 2010

    Very few things in life are technically perfect, I don’t think that there is anything wrong with having technically imperfect images. Art imitates life, right?

    Love the work!

  • Deke said on October 27, 2010

    Let me just throw this out … Who’s right? Da Vinci or Picasso? Chuck Close or Jackson Pollack?

    Just wondering.

  • tamar said on October 28, 2010

    there is nothing new under the sun………..that is why an artists unique creation can be so moving. technically perfect photography is great…..but its all been done before. When you step over the technique and create something new, now that is beautiful.

  • Alexander said on November 1, 2010

    Exposures a matter of opinion, no such thing as perfect :)

  • Adam said on November 3, 2010

    It’s all about function. And emotion. “imperfect” pictures may connect in part because of one of those two things. “Form follows function” or “purpose dictates appearance”. As much as you might like these, are they going to connect with the client base you want to reach? Or are you trying to define a new niche with your images…??

  • elise said on November 3, 2010

    It’s the hybridity that I love – the combination of the “pose” with the organicism or honesty of the moment. I can connect with these images – they’re moving, non-sterile.

    I especially like the second and second-last.

  • Shaun said on November 6, 2010

    It’s seems as if this question is looking for a black and white, right or wrong answer. Thankfully, photography is not that. A photos value is defined by those who love it or are willing to pay for it. It can be technically excellent or a piece of crap, but if someone loves it.. Then it has value. It’s seems as if everyone want to equalize “good photography” with photography that has value. They just arnt one in the same.

  • Valerie Close Evans said on November 8, 2010

    Well, imperfect photographs won’t collapse and kill you and squash all your stuff, so there’s less to not like.

    Besides, who wants to be ‘perfect’? BORING!

  • johan said on December 3, 2010

    you are much better when you blow it! You are much better using no flash at all :)

  • BP said on January 28, 2011

    Agreed.
    Shooting for iStockphoto’s submission standards has ruined me :(

  • john macpherson said on February 26, 2012

    Zack – these are great images. A crisp, sharp technically perfect image might show you what something is, but the images you’ve got here show how something feels. Too much photography these days lacks feeling. Feeling is good.

  • Max Almonte said on April 4, 2012

    I totally agree with the first post Andrew. A rookie/amateur or newbie however you want to call them gets the criticized the heck out for takes like these, yet when you are a pro people see it at beautiful art. I took a shot of the G.W. Bridge from the hudson river looking north and I purposely tilted the camera to make the frame look crooked, I got criticized about the horizon not being straight. Yet That was my interpretation of how everything in life should be correct and perfect, and we live in an imperfect society.

  • Andybaker said on March 24, 2013

    Hi Zack,
    I realise this is years old but had to comment. When I took my first blurred pics the desk said
    “looks like the chemist screwed up..!” they all laughed, the pic ed ran with my blurred image.
    My father said “You’ll never make a living shooting blurred images”
    I shot blurred and distorted for an IT magazine for 5 years!

    The reason we love this is because our work usually requires very sharp quality.

    After 5 years of shooting random blur, I now crave the detail once more, and round we go again.!

  • Eric Rincones said on April 27, 2013

    Does it really matter what we think?




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