As an amatuer photographer (with a heavy emphasis on the "amateur" part of that moniker), I'm a huge proponent of digital pictures. It's not so much that I think they look as good as film (they don't) or that I think the ability to shoot limitlessly and without conscience is good for one's creativity (it's not). It's because I've discovered that my ratio of "average-and-below" to "good-and-actually-worth-saving" pictures is somewhere in the range of 50:1. On a good day. And I'm too cheap to shoot that (demoralizing) ratio on film.
Every now and again, though, the instant I push that button, I'll know I've got one. A perfect one. One that's not just "average" or even "good," but one that I could not -- nay, that I would not -- improve, neither through altering the capturing medium nor the subject(s) nor the environment, nor the staging of the aforementioned subjects in and about that environment.
This is one of those times. I took it a week or so ago, and I think it's pretty much perfect. I can think of nothing I'd like to add to it.
I suppose my notion of "photographic perfection" isn't entirely intuitive (or even entirely accurate, from a definitional standpoint). Is this image perfectly exposed, for example? No (I tell myself, checking on the cloud vs. sky issues in the top-right). Am I satisfied with the expressions on my subjects' faces? Not entirely (I say, because while I actually love the fact that Cormac has to squint just a smidge, Nathan's "just-about-to-smile" smile isn't really what I wanted). And what about the composition? Impossible to improve? Hardly (I admit, because while the fence rails are part of what makes the picture work, the amount of them in the image and their location isn't quite what I would want, if I were composing "in a vacuum.")
Well, are any of its parts perfect, then? Nope; I'm going to have to say none of them are. But somehow, the image itself is. It absolutely captures those two in that place and at that moment.
I wouldn't change a thing.
And because I'm in a giving mood today, here's another from a few weeks (and a couple thousand photos) earlier. Again, perfect. I love everything about it. Everything. But especially the feet. (Also, I just realized that I might have just a teeny-tiny smidgen of bias towards the subjects in these photos. We probably need to factor that bias into the final "perfect" analysis.)