Art is an expression. We create things because we feel something inside of us that just has to make something, find beauty, and then sit back and admire it in all its glory. The most difficult thing about creating is knowing when to stop, knowing when your sculpture or photograph or painting is finished. In our eyes, we want it to be perfect.

The thing is, when it comes to art, the word “perfect” can only be defined by the artist creating the work. A person can have perfect grammar, or maybe they can get a perfect score on a math test. But create a perfect work of art?

The photo in this post is one of my very own ceramic pieces. I started creating dishes for my food photography, and started by learning on the pottery wheel. I loved the pieces I made on the wheel, but in my mind they were too perfect, too precise and symmetrical. I wanted my work to look organic, hand-made and with lots of character. I was, in fact, seeking the perception of imperfection. So, I changed my methods and started making work that reflects more of who I am and what my vision is.

The same can be true of photography. We see other images and strive to create something similar. Some photos can really capture the feel of a scene, the mood of a person, or the mouthwatering flavor of a just-prepared meal. But when we make them ourselves, we never quite match up with those expectations. What we don’t realize is that the artist who made the photographs we are attempting to emulate probably felt the same way. They know all of the flaws, errors and blemishes. They know how much effort it took to get it to the final image, which is probably still “not quite good enough”.

So, instead of constantly going down the path of agonizing over the things that drive us crazy with frustration, let’s all try to live with a few more scuff marks, hot-spots, and soft-focused-at-100% photographs. Sometimes imperfection is the perfection we are seeking after all.

By |July 5th, 2014|4 Comments

About the Author:

My name is Nicole and I'm a photographer, author, & photo-educator living in the US. I'm ACE certified in Photoshop, write articles for Photofocus, and do lots of traveling. I also have an online store, where I sell presets, actions, eBooks and textures. Please click here to learn more.


  1. Cate O'Malley July 7, 2014 at 6:51 am - Reply

    Those plates are stunning! I would totally buy then.

  2. Marty Cohen July 10, 2014 at 5:43 am - Reply

    Oh, so true… I call it the “Creativity of Imperfection”. Thank you Nicole for your vision.

  3. Tammy S. August 6, 2014 at 3:17 pm - Reply

    Nicole, do you sell your plates?

    • Nicole S. Young August 6, 2014 at 6:08 pm - Reply

      Not yet, but I will eventually. My goal is to have things set up early 2015 to sell and ship. I have a blog I’m working on for my ceramics ( and it links to my Etsy store from that page. :)

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