PRESSURE TO BE PERFECT | JOURNAL

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The other day I went to the Yayoi Kusama exhibition and while some parts were a little odd to me and mistook a certain male part for a sweet potato, there were a couple of things that left me with something to think about.

Yayaoi's art pieces are often really large canvases with small details repeated over and over, forming a pattern. She uses a lot of dots and it's wonder that someone's artistic career and style can hinge on this one small element. When you look at it from a far it is mesmerising and it intrigues you to take a closer look to wonder about her process.

Upon closer inspection, I noticed something I was surprised to see — “flaws”. I put “flaws” in inverted commas because I think I’m being way too critical and perfectionistic. These strokes though irregular are part of the process and adds to the realisation that drawing dots is actually not as easy as we may think. That though she maybe painted this particular circle a tad too big, she still went on to complete the piece and hung it on a museum wall.

Art is messy.
Though we like to aim for perfection; 
Art was never meant to be perfect

Maybe it is the advertisements that sell to us that one's "art" will be perfect as long as you had this super product that they are selling. Camera brands like to tell how amazing and advanced their technology is, you will always have a sharp picture, your images will always be clear, everyone is always perfectly lit, the colours are always amazing...but after working at least 7 years on the craft of photography I can tell you that neither the modern day digital cameras nor the super software called photoshop is magic. A photograph taken in a poorly lit environment, with fast moving subject and yellow lighting will always be a poorer image quality compared to one taken in beautiful lighting, with time to compose and focus on the subject. 

Do clients expect me to be perfect? I don't know, I never dared to ask. But the advertisements do make me fear that they might think too highly of digital cameras and photoshop. During a commercial photography project, there is often enough time to aim for perfection. We adjust and adjust and take hours to produce maybe 8 high quality images and then spend hours in post to further aim for perfection.

But in wedding photography, you've got 1 hour to produce an approximate of 40-60 good quality images and things happen so fast that often no one really stays still for you to get multiple shots of something. If I were to work on every image from a wedding the way I do on commercial photographs, clients will only get back their images half a year later. Sometimes a couple kisses too quickly, sometimes the lighting conditions switch so fast that you have no time to change your settings. Add to that pressure of a wedding day being the "MOST IMPORTANT DAY OF A PERSON'S LIFE...." and there we have a small list of reasons why many talented photographers shoot one wedding and decide that this is not for them. 

I try to tell myself that Art is Messy and that drafts and mistakes are often part of the process but there's another part of my brain that tells me that there is no time nor room for mistakes. But I know this expectation of perfection on myself is not healthy, that if I kept believing I could be perfect, that this constant pressure will eventually lead me to pulling the plug.

Are we too hyped up in our expectations as consumer?

Do we expect everything to go right all the time? I know I at times have this unhealthy expectation and maybe that is why I too feel the pressure to be perfect for my clients. I want to deliver something that they will be absolutely over the moon with but sometimes due to the natural elements of the wedding, it is tough. I know I can deliver my best, that I can promise. But can I deliver perfection?

Life is never perfect.
And if my form of art is a reflection of reality.
Then no, I’m so sorry, I really wish I could,
but I think I cannot deliver perfection...
JOURNALNicole ThenComment