• Ewan Arnolda

Striving for Perfectionism almost ruined my passion for photography

Striving to capture the perfect images each time, I came close to giving up my passion for photography

Roughly 10 years ago, I started to pursue excellence in photography. Without the technical and image composition knowledge that I now possess, I was still satisfied with the output.

Over time, as I learnt technical and composition techniques, I began to critique every image I took. I wanted each and every image I captured to be...Perfect!

It's pivotal to human psychological desires to thirst for perfection. I have always striven to be a perfectionist in any task I attempt, so photography has been no different.

Perfectionism, however, began to affect my enjoyment of photography. It added stress, and the fear of failure, to my passion. It burdened my photography with a fear of rejection.

I was so caught up in the perfect conditions and technical details that I started to lose my creative edge, my spontaneity, and I also missed “the moments”.

I always felt I had to take a better photo than the next person. I would even question my self-worth, and my ability to continue in photography. It came to the point where I considered selling off my equipment and throwing it all away.

But a quotation from Winston Churchill – “Perfection is the enemy of progress” – shifted my approach to photography.

Perfectionism was the enemy of MY progress. I carried the stress to be perfect each time I took a photo, my images became boring and lacked creativity; perfectionism restricted my progress in learning and developing my skills.

Once I decided to let go and released myself from the pressure of taking the Perfect photos, I felt unburdened. I started to take photos; no matter what the conditions.

I wanted to capture the moments and incorporate my own creative approaches. I would crank up the ISO for intentional grain, exploring more with my shots. I started to include more movement within my photos, instead of freezing the moment.

Is there such a thing as a Perfect image?

Take a look at some of the most famous photographs from the old masters, and you will notice some technical imperfections. Yet these images are considered the best images of all time.

Is Perfectionism just an illusion, a mirage? Or is it an anchor, weighing down an individual's ability to progress or restrict one's creativity?

Remember this "To be worthy does not mean to be perfect." - Elder Gerrit W. Gong

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