The Value of Imperfect Photographs

Yesterday I sorted through a box of old photos from my childhood. Looking at the images I noticed how imperfect many of them are. By today’s standards they probably would have been instantly deemed “not good enough” and deleted but the thing is, I love these pictures. Sometimes I love them even more because of the imperfections that come with film – light leaks, blurs, dark tones, and lots of grain. I don’t take photos like that now. Do you?

Our Favorite Photos Reflect What’s Real

When I think about the pictures that I treasure the most I know that none of them would survive today. They aren’t filtered or Instagram worthy but they feel like so much more than all of that. They’re real and reflect the reality of the moment in which they were taken. That’s the magic of film photography and sometimes I miss it.

Of course I also appreciate the amazing medium that is digital photography and the ability to so easily document our everyday lives. At the moment there are 6,232 photos on my phone. What stories do they tell? Do they capture what’s truly taking place? I hope so.

I’m still gathering my thoughts around this and looking for ways to lean in and embrace the imperfections of life. How can we show up more fully, flaws and all? How can we make sure to document what is real and true so that the stories our photos tell are honest?

Something To Try

Try this: scroll through your camera roll and just notice what you see. What stories unfold? How much or how little have you edited things? What photos make you smile and which ones could be deleted? This exercise is just about observation and awareness. No judgments, please!

A few of the things that I notice for myself are that I like minimal edits that correct or lightly enhance my images more than heavy editing that changes the color or quality of my pictures. I mostly edit my photos to create a cohesive image set that might not have been captured in the same place at the same time. Neither type of editing is good/bad or right/wrong. It’s all just a matter of preference.

I’ve also noticed that often I’m capturing the moment but those photos aren’t typically “good enough” to share because they might be a bit blurry or a little more candid. What do you think about sharing images like that more often online? I feel like it might be a good area for growth in allowing ourselves to show up with more realness on social media.

Going Forward

As I continue to explore this idea I’ll share more with you. For now, I want to invite you to join me in considering the special qualities of photos from the past and how we might recapture some of those qualities in our own photographs today. If you’d like I’d love for you to share your thoughts with me in the comments below. 


All The Best,

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