Letting Go

Most photographers are control freaks.  Obsessive, detail oriented, consumed. They need to be in total control and are uncomfortable, unsatisfied, and unfulfilled otherwise.  Most photographers are also perfectionists. Why?  Do we live in a perfect world?  Why do so many artists strive for consummate perfection in their work?  Who determined perfection as a goal?  Perfection in art is often boring, static, antiseptic, and  soul less. Dali says that perfection is unattainable, so why bother?

Photographers must be able to let go.  There should be an open – ended, brainstorming, free flowing mentality to one’s work.  Do not misunderstand.  An artist must be the master of light, technique, process, and subject matter.  The photographer must be the technical expert of “how to do” what he is doing, knowing the rules, guidelines, expectations?  Now, have the guts to break the rules, do the opposite, “cast it to the wind”, free float, do a technical “bungee jump”!  See what happens.  If it is not perfect, perhaps it is not supposed to be.

Dance with recklessness in your art.  Go to the edge, your “limit” and do a tap dance on it.  Obliterate your edges, no boundaries.  Embrace the unexpected, the unusual.  Take a second look at what you consider a mistake.  Often mistakes are gifts in your art, a direction you might never have thought of, or an artistic deviation from the path that you thought you were on.  You will not be receptive to the unexpected, to change, to anything new in your art without letting go of perfection.  Question less, accept more as a possibility in your art.  Adapt. Let go.  Let your art be free.

Categorized as Process


  1. Ken,
    I REALLY enjoyed looking over your collodion work here. Your “Letting go” piece was great , it is exactly how I feel these days with my photography. Like you i enjoy all formats in photography, I do not subscribe to the idea of “digital sucks” , I believe a good image that evokes a feeling or mood is what is important. I have been involved in wetplate for 2 yrs now. I saw an article in Viewcamera that you were part of and then I knew I had to know more. I took a class with John Coffer and have attended 2 of his annual Jamborees. Great time I highly recomend it. Met plenty of talented people there as well. Where are you located, New York ??? I love the un predictable results of wetplate and the imperfectness of it. Hope you have a Healthy prosperous New Year!!

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