Photographers need to remember that content trumps quality… every time… As a photographer it is so easy to get wrapped up in trying to capture the perfect image. Great light, great composition, perfect exposure, perfect focus. It is VERY important to try and nail as many of these things as you can. In portraiture, more of these things are under your control so it is more possible and the standards are higher. But, during life in general, you don’t have as much control over things. Recently, I have found myself hesitant to capture the moments in our family’s life because it is going to produce a less than perfect image. This is so wrong because CONTENT TRUMPS QUALITY. Any image that captures a memory, provokes that original emotion, forever freezes time is worth taking.
This is probably my most favorite image… ever… I love it. The focus is off… the lighting is harsh… but it captures the moment. It takes me back to Flaming Geyser State Park, Father’s Day 2005. My crazy 2 year old saw these hose bibs spread through out the park and was running up to each of them turning them on and taking drinks out of them. It totally captures his nutty personality, his fierce independence and his energy. As the memory holder, I can look past all of the images flaws.
But the biggest reason why this is my favorite image is because this is the very last image taken of my son. Two days after this picture was taken, 9 years ago today, he was gone. This was before I was shooting professionally, before my standards had become so very high. Truth be known, we probably could have found a hose bib in better light, set up this shot again, but chances are I would have missed the spontaneity and energy of this shot. But the reality is I was really overwhelmed that day. We had just taken custody of our nieces and being responsible of 5 kids 8 and under at a large park with river was a daunting task. I wouldn’t have taken the time to recreate this shot under better circumstances… chances are if my standards had been what they are today, I wouldn’t have taken this image. I am so glad that wasn’t the case.
Take pictures… even if they aren’t perfect. Remember that images that awe strangers and win awards are usually not the same images that hold the most memories for the subjects and their families… and that is okay. There is a place in this world for both types of images.