Why is imperfection beautiful?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by ilya1963, Jan 3, 2009.

  1. ilya1963

    ilya1963 Member

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    This has been on my mind now for a while, you notice the question is not :

    Is imperfection beatiful?

    But rather:

    why?

    I am not arguing the point if it is or not , but rather why? Mind you, I have no answers just questions and sugest a friendly descussion, forgive me if this has been discussed already , I could not find where it has.

    First let me try to define imperfection , here I am speaking not of the subject beeing photographed imperfections , but rather imperfection that are achieved by the photographers proccess: out of focus , scratched , stained , damaged , discolored,grainy, imulsion altered wool over the eyes photographs.... (you can add your favorites here)

    Here I am thinking of St. Ansel , how hard and long he work to make his perfections.

    How hard most of large and ultra large photographers work to show every possible detail , to show things to people that are not visible or ignored in our everyday, there is certainly beauty in minute details of subgects , delivered by the photographer untouched with imperfections of the process.

    What I am asking here is not new , it has been descussed by masters before us.
    Is the beauty of a subject not enough , should we as judge and the jury making our art interfer in what is already created?

    is it an easy way out to make imperfect prints?

    are we by producing those imperfect images somehow rebvel against mechanichal world we live in , by showing a human touch?

    Life is not perfect , we are not perfect , most of the time the subject infront of camera is not perfect, so should we not just show those imperfection as they are? why should we iterfer?

    It is somewhat like a movie cameraman shooting handheld, with all it's movement, more realistic?

    and yet it's been said that the artist is the one who is invisible to the viewer , the art is in abilaty of an artist to creat something without showing self.

    Are those imperfections a self proclamation? are we trying to say to the world
    "yes I am an individual and not just a number in the sea of billions" ?

    Don't get me wrong , I am the first to say :do not qualify me , do not fit me in a pattern , I reserve the right to change ...

    I am just trying to identify with those who's work I like.

    why do you do what you do when you make imperfections?
     
  2. arigram

    arigram Member

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    Zen Buddhism wabi sabi and all that?
    So called "imperfections" give "soul" to inanimate things because they more accurately reflect our experience with the "imperfect" natural world, its creatures and ourselves. Its not so much about imperfection as much as that the perceived mathematical symmetry and strict definition of man made, especially machined products are unnatural, uniform and only "perfect" to a linear, boxed, limited understanding.
     
  3. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    "is it an easy way out to make imperfect prints?"

    Who makes perfect prints?

    What is perfection to begin with?

    Is there anything in the universe that is 'perfect'? And is beauty 'perfect'?

    Is perfection knowable if we all possess imperfect minds?

    I suggestion you simply make images, with prints from these images, that say what you want to say, not worrying about perfection.
     
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    ilya1963

    ilya1963 Member

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    "I suggestion you simply make images, with prints from these images, that say what you want to say, not worrying about perfection."

    Worry ? no, no worry here just acceptance of self evolution .

    Ari , you are a greek god speaking the way you do with few words
     
  5. arigram

    arigram Member

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    Its not just my body that is divine you know, even pretty boys have a brain some times! Actually I just have a BullShit diploma from a well known american university.
     
  6. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    perfection has its place.
    even though we are not perfect
    and the world we live in is far from perfect
    sometimes a view free from distraction is something to behold.

    at the same time, i find imperfection - distractions and everything to go with it,
    allows me, the viewer, to translate what i can not see, something that gives me
    a more personalized experience with what i am looking at. it allows me to wonder
    and stop and really look.
     
  7. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    I love to watch (and make) "inperfect" images for several reasons.

    My english is unfortunately quite limited, so I don't know whether I can make sense here.

    When I am looking at an image mad by "prifti", called Heather and Elliot ( (there was a url link here which no longer exists)) I don't really care whether the title is their real names or who they are...
    I am looking at something beyond the registrations of their faces.
    I am almost sure, that if this image had been in colour and made as a "perfect" "undamaged" print, I wouldn't have had the same feeling, looking at it..

    When I make images of my girlfriend Stine, I don't want to get this " oh - she is besutiful - nice breasts and so on.."

    I aspire to make an image that go beyond this..

    I don't succeed often, but that is what I am trying to do..

    inpefections helps me to look at images as an image - not as the "truth" (this is where I get stuck in the language.....)

    SO many images are pure registrations on a subject (most dig**** image I know of, for example), which is fine for commercial purposes..

    I like more to look at images that trandsends this registration.

    I know it can be done with "perfect" images, but for me it is harder...

    (Another reason for me to make my inperfect images could just be the fact, that I stink as a "real" photographer... :smile:)
     
  8. Paul Goutiere

    Paul Goutiere Subscriber

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    Everything, is the perfect result of all that came before.
     
  9. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Perfection does not exist, therefore the only thing left is imperfection, and some of it is beautiful.
     
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    ilya1963

    ilya1963 Member

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    Emile , I am so gald you have pitched in here , I admire your work very much for it's magic world you have created ... you are a true master

    "(Another reason for me to make my inperfect images could just be the fact, that I stink as a "real" photographer... )'

    _______________
    John,
    I love your work very much as well , I admire your unwavering presuit of unseen,

    I am gald you are around to respond

    "allows me, the viewer, to translate what i can not see"
     
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    ilya1963

    ilya1963 Member

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    I have seem to have evolved , I brought a print home from the darkroom I can not get out of my mind , it is so "not me" , I just think that one's work if not evolving is dead , open minds when working in the darkroom are dangerous :smile:
     
  12. Pinholemaster

    Pinholemaster Member

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    Dangerous darkroom thoughts, now there's a perfect ideal!

    Ha ha ha ha ha

    I met the Utopia.
     
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    ilya1963

    ilya1963 Member

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    next thing we know there will be some sandpaper and stain filters in photoshop , then what do we do?
    I mean, is this a trend? , I am certainly not a trendy guy , I mean it seem to be "in" ....

    Ahhh I hate myself for trying to see multiple sides ... Just thinking out loud
     
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  15. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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    Exactly Emil. You are quite lucid (in more ways than one).

    Joe
     
  16. fschifano

    fschifano Member

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    One could argue that the universe is perfect because that's the way it is. We only perceive it to be "imperfect".

    Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder, so I'll lay off the second part of that question.
     
  17. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I don't feel it is the easy way out. I think it is at least as hard as "West Coast Photography". Photographers like Galli and Schildt work as hard, if not harder to bring their visions to reality. For example, I know this negative of Galli's is very "difficult" let alone the idiocincracies involved in the use of archaic and temperamental camera, lens, and shutter.

    (there was a url link here which no longer exists)


    .
     
  18. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

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    there you go - I had to look up the word "lucid"....:rolleyes:

    But thanks.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2009
  19. Nicholas Lindan

    Nicholas Lindan Advertiser Advertiser

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    I debated this with myself many years ago, not only in relation to art, but also to engineering with the problem of creating bug free software and a project I was involved in to create a close-to-perfect source of noise.

    I came to several conclusions:

    • Perfection is useless. A perfect object, almost by definition, can't do anything useful but can only sit there. As beauty is in the art of the beholder, as soon as art is beholden it falls from perfection - somebody, somewhere will consider it hideous. You can't have your cake and eat it too.
    • Perfection is reserved for God. The Shakers, the "The Perfect Chair People", believed that for man to strive for perfection was sinful, but they strived anyway and then at the last minute grabbed a knife and put a gouge in their work to insure they had not created perfection by mistake. Only a religion...
    • Even God knows better than to perfect. A look around the Universe is enough proof.
    • Perfection is the death of the object. Once perfect, an object can not be improved on. It is static, fixed, lifeless, dead.
    • Perfection is disturbing and not natural. Nothing in nature is perfect, so if it is perfect it doesn't belong in nature, it doesn't belong with us.
    • In regards software - as soon as a version gets close to having the last bug driven from it, out comes a new version. If a new version is not forthcomming then the hardware that supports the software is obsoleted. The most used software is also the must Gawd-awful bug ridden software: Windows; X; Linux; C; C++; Java; J++; HTML; etc. etc.. Stable bug-free software has fallen by the wayside: Dos 3.1; Algol; Pascal; iRMX; etc. etc. etc..
    • In regards to creating perfect noise, perfect randomness, it is as hard as creating perfect not-noise. Creating a perfect source of noise is the same problem as creating the perfect amplifier. The solution to both problems is the non-sequitur of a straight bit of wire, gain optional.
    The observation that the Universe is by definition perfect is to deny the existence of perfection. If everything is perfect then perfect does not exist as a quality but as a state.

    The conscious distortion of an image falls into the trap of trying to create perfect imperfection.

    Some of the appeal of imperfect 'pictoral' photographic reproduction is that it mirrors the mind's eye. If I remember my Grandmother the image is distinctly Petzvallian - some features of her face are sharp and distinct, but the background on which I see her is a swirl.

    Adding breaks and tears and scratches invokes a sentimentality in the image of lost and found objects from our past.

    As far as my own quest for the perfectly imperfect, I like the look of portrait lenses. I especially like the look of a Portragon lens mounted on a 2x telextender - sort of a Petzval for the 35mm set.

    The scratch and dent thing, though I find it works for me as an observer, is a bit too foreign to my Engineering sensibilities for practice. I would require a very large glass of Jameson to get me 'loose' enough to try it -- and maybe I will... Where's the yard-arm, where's the sun, and where's that bottle?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 3, 2009
  20. dpurdy

    dpurdy Subscriber

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    If I can't see the ugliness in it, I can't see the beauty in it. Somebody else said that. Beauty ugliness perfection and imperfection are all constructs of the human mind.
     
  21. Erik Petersson

    Erik Petersson Subscriber

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    Because we ourselves are out of focus, scratched, stained, damaged, discolored, grainy, or even had our imulsion altered?

    OK, now I see that Aristotelis already said this.
     
  22. k5083

    k5083 Member

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    Perfect is not so bad. Take it if you can get it.

    I see no merit in the position that the perfect is useless.

    Imperfect can still be beautiful. It's a no-brainer that the category of beautiful is broader than that of perfect.

    If the thesis is that imperfection AS SUCH is beautiful, or that the introduction of imperfections increases beauty, I will dispute it. Unless the imperfections are perfect. Which would be cheating.

    August
     
  23. smieglitz

    smieglitz Member

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    The word derives from "lux" which I think is particularly appropriate in your case. :smile:
     
  24. Domenico Foschi

    Domenico Foschi Member

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    It is not a matter of imperfection as much as results given by a non-traditional use of the tools.
    I always see it as a little help to go over the boundaries and stretch the understanding of the medium.
    These are also known as happy accidents.
    The trick is understanding what went wrong (or right) and repeat the steps so as to achieve the desired affects with sufficient precision.
     
  25. phenix

    phenix Member

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    This is a very incentive question, and while putting it, you already found some answers. Still, here are my very fast thoughts on this subject. I found 3 different imperfection types:

    1. The material imperfections making the image alive, making it vibrate, making it human as opposed to machine made – it’s the case of the grain, of the paper’s texture, of the gray tones textures, etc.

    2. The process imperfections, and even faults, like errors and blemishes in developing and manipulating the film and the print. These imperfections seem to emphasize different priorities between form and content, setting big value on the content. In this case, if form had been closer to perfection, the content’s value would have suffered. Here there’s also a sub-category: of the artificially vintaged images. These are fakes, as the imperfect form sends the message there would be a content value in them, but in reality, there is no content value at all, except for melodrama. This is a cheap, pathetic trick, call it “postmodern” (I hate postmodernism).

    3. Finally, there is also the subject’s, or better said the scenic imperfections. These are meant, in my opinion, to excite out imagination, to make us dream, fantasize, and even think. These are meant to reach questions instead of providing answers. They add a philosophical dimension to the artistic image.

    Well, there are maybe some other imperfection categories too, but these three did come to my mind while reading your question and the answers you already found.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2009
  26. phaedrus

    phaedrus Member

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    Dialogue

    Imperfect prints open up a dialogue between the medium and the content, thereby breaking the window metaphor of a picture.
    Tension is generated, interest rises.
    As easy as that ...
    Christoph​
     
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