Nobody lives without making mistakes. – Michael Cimino
Googling the words “mistake” and “photographers”, I found a whole list of articles with titles like “12 Common Newbie Photography Mistakes to Avoid” and “9 Basic Photography Mistakes (and how to fix them)”, I can’t help but find this kind of sad. As helpful as these articles can be, and they do have some valid points, I find them disconcerting. The world is full of technically perfect yet bland images. Is skewing the horizon really a cardinal sin? Does it matter if someone’s feet get unintentionally cut off the bottom of a photograph? Should we be preoccupied with image quality? I don’t think so.
I’m an impatient person, I make lots of mistakes. Sometimes I’m not paying enough attention or I’m rushing to get things done. My stupid finger gets in the way of the shutter or I forget to take the lens cap off. Many of my absolute favourite photographs though, are the result of total flukes. It could be they have too much lens flare or blur, that they’re over exposed or out of focus. In some way, they’re imperfect, like us.
I berate myself with the best of them when I make errors. It’s only when I come back later that I’ll see I’ve unintentionally created something special. My synapses start firing and I know I’m onto something or maybe I have just made a total, unsalvageable mess. Nothing is a waste of time if you learn from it.
People aren’t perfect, life is a beautiful mess. The best photographs reflect that. Give yourself permission to fuck up and make the best of it. If you’re having fun, who cares?!