How Can Imperfection Make Your Photography More Engaging?

If there’s one YouTuber that you can rely on to draw on philosophical thought to pose provocative questions about your photographer, it’s Jamie Windsor. In this video, he explores how technical failings can make your photography more engaging.

Windsor found himself inspired by the work of Nan Goldin and ties the effect that her work has on him to Japanese philosophy, creating a compelling argument that flawed work has a value that is easily lost in modernity’s drive for technical perfection.

Looking back over my own work, I can find a lot of truth in Windsor’s suggestion that ignoring technical conventions and embracing looseness can create a greater emotional connection with what is being portrayed. In 2003, I began documenting parkour, wielding a camera in earnest for the first time in my life and shooting technically flawed images that had an energy that’s often missing in more recent work. The lens was soft, the film stock was cheap, and my knowledge of how to use a camera was nonexistent. Despite this, I look back on the photos and feel that the photographs perfectly convey an era that was experimental and where the practitioners themselves — myself included — had very little understanding of what they were doing.

What are your thoughts? Do you have work that’s technically flawed but more engaging as a result? Is this something that you can achieve deliberately? Leave a comment below.