My Art of Imperfection

I’m doing it all wrong.

I watched a “How to Photograph Flowers” tutorial by a photographer who lectures on digital photography.

She counseled that the sine qua non of flower photography was to get the flower into focus.


If my whole frame is more than 1/4 in focus I’m unhappy.  The blurrier the better I always say and that applies to my motion photography, too.

She counseled to isolate the flower from the background.

Yeow!  The background is as important, if not more, than the flower itself.

When she expanded her tips into macro photography with the same rules,  I thought, “We should team up and be the James Carville and Mary Maitlin of Flower Photography”.  We agree on nothing.

But, I rethought the team thing and decided I’ll go solo into my world of imperfection and create my own rules which some creative soul can then break and start their own blog.

Instead of fighting against the impulse every day to post yet another flower or blurry motion photograph, I’ve started a new blog dedicated to my art of imperfection. It’s called “Singular Sensation–breaking photographic rules lowers cholesterol” and is live as of this afternoon.  Singular Sensation-breaking photographic rules lowers cholesterol is the full  name of the blog, the name of my future book,  lecture series, line of wallpaper, linens and tablecloths, and bobble heads.  I’m holding out for FDA approval on one of these damn blogs.

You see, it is the art and the business of my imperfection that I found in this photographer’s tutorial on how to photograph flowers.

What rules have you broken for your art?

Share your imperfections.

Pretty please with whip cream and cherries on top?

Blurred whip cream and cherries, of course.

And, PS., I’m also going to mix things up a bit here at SRAR and attempt to do what I steadfastly avoid doing with my camera: I am going to try to photograph people to go along with my observations, opinions, rants and raves.  Real live humans.

I was inspired by a photo by Razzbuffnik and thought to myself, “Damnation, that is so damn good.  I never photograph people.  I’m gonna try.”

The last time I did this was about a year ago when I set my sights on learning motion photography.  Regular readers know how that turned out.  Would you like to see another photo of trees rushing by my windshield?

Ok, then.  I’m off to the bushes because there is a lady doing leg lifts on her porch and I think I’ll begin with her.

Pat Paparazzi, if you please.

I’m a big chicken.

©Pat Coakley 2009


13 comments on “My Art of Imperfection”

  1. Pat, honey…. this is beyond outstanding… this is a standing ovation! You inspire me constantly. You also remind me to stop being critical of what I consider my failures to be.

    I would love you to send me any links to utube tutorials you think interesting…

    You are my photography hero…

    • Amber girl! I saw on FB that you weren’t feelin’ so good so hope you are better! I have never done the youtube tutorial route except once for a recipe for baked beans!! Some guy in Canada with stains on his shirt did a home video of his baked beans and damn if they weren’t delicious.

      The video I’m referring to in this post was one that was suggested by WordPress when I posted yet another flower post! But, if I run across any, I’ll forward them to you.

      I am also thinking of doing a video tutorial of flower tips myself, if I can just figure out how to be actor, writer, director and videographer at the same time. I want to be the Julia Childs of flower photography!! I’d have the equivalent of many omelettes and roast chickens falling on the floor. Like this morning, for instance…dragged the tripod everywhere, three lenses. Nothin’. Ah.

  2. Another stunning image.

    I love your sense of colour.

    I was once told by a guy who was worth listening to, “don’t compete, be unique”. You are unique and that’s what I love about you. I’m so glad that you’re taking your own path and not following the rules. Churning out no-brainer images of flowers and sunsets ain’t where it’s at!

    Beware of the dark side of photography. As Yoda said, “The Dark Side is a quicker, easier path to power, but it exacts a terrible toll on those who fall under it’s influence.”

    Also, thanks for the compliment.

    • Well, Razz…deep bows from the waist for this comment. I so appreciate your interest and thoughts on art and life. I’m still thinking about how to respond to you recent post on happiness! Thought about it all day yesterday.

      The funny thing about don’t compete, be unique is that the former takes the total joy out of creativity for me, which is, I suspect, why you may have rethought commercial photography after being immersed in it.

  3. Leg lifts in the bushes. I can’t wait!
    Rules really are important, because if you don’t know them, how do you know you’ve broken them? And if you don’t know you’ve broken the rules, then what’s the pleasure in that? Some of the first images I ever sold had the center of interest at the dead-on center of the image. Someone told me that was a mistake in composition… that you should always have your focal point off-center to maintain interest, or whatever. Well, the image just wouldn’t have worked that way, but I felt much better knowing I had broken someone’s rule and gotten away with it!
    So keep up the great work and we’ll all have lower cholesterol.

    • You are right, Don. Rules are important to know for sure. And, I don’t believe I could have the confidence to break them unless I’d done my time in the past trying to follow them. If that makes any sense. Anyway, sorry, about the lady doing leg lifts….she vanished by the time I was set up in the bushes!!

  4. Pat, I’ll be looking here for some inspiration for people photography. I’ve been having similar thoughts about starting to photograph people. It’s kind of the final frontier for me — or the next frontier at least. Very interesting that you’re taking a similar turn at the same exact week I was seriously mulling it. I take this as a challenge. Can I keep up with the famous PatD? Do I dare even try?

    Three things inspired me towards more people photography. 1) I had a blast taking pictures of the mess at La Guardia Airport last week. I forgot some of my self consciousness and just took photos. People didn’t care. In fact, they started talking to me because I was taking photos. 2) I flew with a guy a few months ago that in a former career was a photographer for the London times. He got me excited about people photography and did a great job explaining how photos of people generate more interest than most other types of photography. 3) I am a blog stats nut and I think people photos will put my stats through the roof (if I can get some good shots).

    About your blurred photos… another strange coincidence… Last night while digging around in the basement looking for a book I misplaced during our last move I opened up an old photography text that I hadn’t looked at in awhile. The page it opened to had an example of blurred backgrounds used in advertisement photography. The author explained that researchers on brain development believe that infants see the world as blurs of unfocused color, and photos that use a lot of blur trigger your brain in deep subconscious ways because blurred photos look like the world you saw as a baby.

    This is a really long comment — thought it was funny to have to coincidences with this one post.

    Best of luck on this new road you are traveling.

    • Hey, Dave! I love the idea of a challenge! Let’s do it. I posted my first submission for this challenge this morning, called “Stayed too long at the fair”. Let me know when you post one, OK? In fact, let us all know, and we’ll create an audience for this photographic smackdown!

      Except you gotta get my name right, buddy! It’s not PatD…it’s PatC.

      Love the explanation of my blurry love by the way! I love long comments when they are interesting!

  5. what a great subject. rules and imperfections thereof. i find the visual interest is not in the rules which sometimes just make it easy to generate more cliche’ (for laziness wants to say ‘i get it, this is what beauty is’)(some rules blindly followed are such a blatant prejudice of the eyesheartmind) rather than looking into what the world really looks like or how it looks when seen differently which is much harder work.
    the way you play with focus, it is so much more than just everything being a crisp image which altho crispiosity(snap crackle and pop ha ha) can be pleasing, does not hold much interest, at least for me. blurring the distinctions between painting and photography is what draws me in, and that ‘thing’ happens, the ‘ah’ that stops the chatter, the ‘ah’ that is art.

    • Ok. Total deep bow from the waist for “crisposity”!! Love it. Love it. Yes, yes, you help me get it, too…it is the world of painting and photography that has always interested me!

  6. And who ARE these rule makers anyway?
    If YOU published a book about photography based on the images you put here, I’d be just as interested in buying it and learning from the perspective of lost focus.

    This is akin to abstraction in painted art or impressionism or any other form of painting that asks the viewer to provide their imagination, wonder and curiosity to the subject.

    You, Miss Muffin, can lower my cholesterol and raise my right brain function with every picture you take.

    I’m raptly watching to see what’s next.

  7. Wow. I’m a lucky girl, today. Comments to blow my doors off and help the ol’girl through the maze. That you are one of them is, of course, no surprise. But, only you can call me Miss Muffin like Helen Mirren as Elizabeth II called for her yorkshire terriers!!

  8. […] blog “Single for a Reason” has grown into a full scale battle.  Last week Pat posted that she was going to start photographing more people, and I suggested that maybe we have a […]

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