In art and in life, there is greater value in doing something difficult well than in doing something easy perfectly.
"I can’t stand looking at my own work."
One of the most brilliant photographers I know, Richard Israel.
I have a strange and neurotic relationship with imperfection in my work, and perhaps my life. I love handmade things, things with history, things with character. I love work that is loose, expressive and unselfconscious. But as if whispered in my ear by Mephistopheles himself, thoughts of sharpness and grain-lessness and perfectly managed dynamic range come unbidden and unwanted and distract me. At their most pernicious, these thoughts try to persuade me that the sharper shot has an expression that’s “just as good” or that there is some balance where a shot looks grainy, but simultaneously has perfect sharpness and detail.
This is not to say I advocate or aspire to sloppy photography. I simply wish for the photographic wisdom to accept when something truly doesn’t matter.
If it is a likeness, alone, it is not a success. If, through my portraits, you can come to know the subjects more meaningfully, if it synthesizes your feelings toward someone whose work has imprinted itself on your mind—if you see a photograph and say, ‘Yes, this is the person,’ with a little new insight—that is a beautiful experience.
Whether he is an artist or not, the photographer is a joyous sensualist, for the simple reason that the eye traffics in feelings, not in thoughts.