Perfection vs Emotion

Every now and again I go back through some work from the past year or so to see if there is anything that, with the passage of time, I realise I want to show people. When I first work through a set of images, I’m just looking for those that I think are technically right – the exposure is good, the image is sharp and the actual image is photographically interesting.

Trouble is, focusing on the textbook definitions of a good image takes away a lot of the art. This is why I think it is so important to come back, and look at images with the photography brain on mute, and pick images based solely on how they make me feel.

Are they perfect? No.

Does it matter?


To make my point, lets look at this image:


This is a scene from a place that my wife and I stayed during our honeymoon roadtrip of Iceland. It was essentially a stables with these little cabins that people could stay in. It was approaching the end of our trip and we were feeling a mixture of happiness from the adventure, but a little melancholy knowing it was soon coming to an end, and I would be working away from home again (not any more, I hated being away and changed jobs).

As an image, it isn’t bad, your eye is drawn from bottom left to top right, taking in the details, the horses add some interest and the ocean in the background adds to that sense of isolation of this little enclave. The sky has some interest but isn’t distracting, and I love the colour palette.

But. The grass is softened, which is not what I wanted in this shot, and the white balustrade on the cabin bottom left is essentially blown out detail. The crop of the mountain at the top right is distracting, there’s no sign of a summit there, it would be like photographing a model and cropping the image with half of their fingers missing, it just lacks that feeling of closure that I normally want from my images.

But it makes me feel something.

And for this image, that’s all I care about.


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