Salvador Dalí once said, "Have no fear of perfection - you'll never reach it." Fortunately, I've never suffered from that particular fear. I strive for perfection, i ache to achieve it, but there is no doubt in my mind that I will ever reach it, much less come to fear it. The wonder of perfection in my particular line of work is that, like beauty, it is largely in the eye of the beholder. Some photos are technically better than others, some more artfully composed, and some have a more pleasing subject. It's a tricky, fickle business to be in. Some days I come home, confident that I have captured some of my best work ever. I crop and adjust and process and post and... nothing. Crickets. No comments or love or, most importantly, buyers for what I was certain was perfection. Other days, I am harried by the kids or rushed with other commitments, and I'll list something that, while not bad per say, is definitely not high on my list of accomplishments. I send the photo out there into the world as a placeholder, to make sure people know I'm still here, and still a photographer and I dash off, embroiled in the rest of my life.
And I come home later, and flop in front of the computer, and check to see if there are messages or purchases or requests that need to be responded to, hoping that maybe in the time that has passed, the wonderful art I shared yesterday has found recognition. A little green square in the activity on my Etsy account blinks at me, there's a purchase - wait, THAT one? The placeholder photo, that I held no love for? That's what they wanted?
Maybe I'm just not good at recognizing perfection.
A few weeks ago, I determined I was going to get some good local sunset photos. I had some locations in mind, I only needed to wait until the weather was right and the sun did what I had pictured it would do in the camera in my mind, and then just show up, collect the shot and share it with the world. Sadly, the weather in Southern Ontario in August is not known for its cooperativeness, and I had more than a few false starts. More often than not, the sun would start to sink in the sky, and I'd race out, camera at the ready, and a big black cloud will roll in and dump its contents on my scene. Sometimes, the clouds fled as the sun set, leaving the sky burnt out and blank, like an unfinished canvas. Once, the weather cooperated, but traffic left me watching a glorious sunset over the highway. No, I'm definitely not in danger of reaching perfection.
I'd have to recognize it first.