My Cut Up images were assembled for the final crit of this assignment. I projected the power point presentation I had prepared showing my journey from my initial interest in a number of ‘Cut Up’ artists, through the development of my ideas and the various experiments I had tried and finally showcasing the ‘finished’ work.
Feedback was the last element needed to see if the work met the approval of both my classmates and tutors and any creative criticism on how the images could be improved.
Comments were initially muted and reserved from my class mates, but encouraging leading to a lively debate on the pluses and minuses of fast food. (The subject of my cut up project.) I explained the problems and the processes I had encountered, the trails and tribulations in trying to create a Cut Up project that fitted the brief.
The tutors comments were more direct and one question was asked that I did not expect and thus struck a nerve. “Why are you trying to make it perfect?” I struggled to answer that one. Creating images is something I’ve done for a very long time, and aiming to make any picture technically correct is a standard I’ve strived for. “I’m not so much as looking for perfection as trying to get the image to be the best it could be,” I replied. Her reply was simply “Why does it need to be?”
This one point to me was seismic. I spent the rest of the day asking that same question over and over in my head. To me the task of ‘letting go’ and creating art that is both spontaneous and not ‘perfect’ was a huge leap from where I currently stood. I’ve spent my whole photography career having a clear idea of what any final image should look like before pressing the shutter. This question put me at a crossroads and at a conflict with myself.
Badly taken photography is something I have never found to be interesting or of value. I’m not saying that it has to be technically correct to meet my approval just not technically incompetent. I’m sure my tutor didn’t mean for my image to be badly taken or made, but my interpretation of her question suggested that by looking for perfection in the creation of the image I was actually missing out on a huge range of ‘happy accident’ imagery. (A happy accident = image made by chance more than design.)
Discussion with a class mate at the end of the session confirmed he also believed I was relying on old habits and methods to create my photo art, not chance or happy accidents, and thus severely restricting my chances of something unique and truly creative.
Time to let loose my full creativity, happy accidents here I come, “Allons y!”