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Thread: "good enough" what does it mean to you ?

  1. #1
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    "good enough" what does it mean to you ?

    everyone has their own definition of "good enough" whether it is
    with the negative ( exposure and processing ) or printing ...
    for some it is rigid, and perfections ( or as close to it as possible )
    to others no so much.

    there used to be a saying "f8 and be there" which i think applies to the "others not so much" camp.

    there is a lot of middle ground, i realize some folks get a great exposure and can make 40 different interpretations of the same negative
    depending on process, and where their head is at, but just the same, there is a "good enough" involved no matter ...

    what does good enough mean where you are standing at the moment, and i know it is a fluid set of words because in 3 days or 3 months you may change your position ..

  2. #2
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: "good enough" what does it mean to you ?

    For my personal work, good enough is the best I can do...how good that actually is depends on my present skill and knowledge level, the materials available and time restraints. Many times it is not 'good enough' and I will wait until the time, skill, materials, and opportunity all come together to give it another try.

    "Good enough for gov't work" is a phrase I also tend to use -- and to me that also means doing the best I can do. When I worked for the USFS (from packing mules and maintaining wilderness trails to cleaning the campground outhouses, from counting fish to fighting fires) I always worked harder than the 5 bucks or so per hour I was getting paid.
    "Landscapes exist in the material world yet soar in the realms of the spirit..." Tsung Ping, 5th Century China

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    Re: "good enough" what does it mean to you ?

    In photographic terms, "good enough" for me means that when I look at the finished print I don't see anything that I want to change or correct. Which is not the same as looking at a print and seeing something else that I would like to try. A concrete example: I have a still life I shot which I basically like, but there was a smudge on the background paper which shows on the print. That is not "good enough" because I immediately see the imperfection. Perhaps someone else would look at the print and like the image, so clearly "good enough" is a personal standard for each of us.

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    Re: "good enough" what does it mean to you ?

    For me, photographically, there is no such thing. It's either right or it isn't. Further, when speaking about things that matter, the words suggest everything that has gone awry with the American culture. They are offensive.

    Lenny
    EigerStudios
    Museum Quality Drum Scanning and Printing

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    Re: "good enough" what does it mean to you ?

    John,

    For me it depends on which part of the process we're talking about. By nature I'm an obsessive perfectionist and uncompromising, so when it comes to the image itself or the print, there's no "good enough". I suppose I'm either satisfied or I'm not (and this can change over time too). However there are other aspects of the process - exposure/development of the negative for example, for which "good enough" does indeed exist. The latitude built into the excellent materials we have at our disposal affords us that.

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    Nodda Duma's Avatar
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    Re: "good enough" what does it mean to you ?

    Lenny from an engineering standpoint, "good enough" means any additional effort expended would be a waste of cost and materials. So from that point of view the phrase implies you know when you're done. So it is not necessarily always a bad thing.

    That said, my "good enough" is when my wife says I can put a framed print up on a wall (does not happen often).

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    Re: "good enough" what does it mean to you ?

    According to my Father, 'Nothing is Good Enough'.

    ymmv

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    Re: "good enough" what does it mean to you ?

    The following article may provide for some interesting commentary: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog...the-enemy-good

    The title is "Why Perfect Is the Enemy of Good: Why obsession with perfection can paralyze."

  9. #9

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    Re: "good enough" what does it mean to you ?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nodda Duma View Post
    Lenny from an engineering standpoint, "good enough" means any additional effort expended would be a waste of cost and materials. So from that point of view the phrase implies you know when you're done. So it is not necessarily always a bad thing.
    I can't disagree. I just built a new darkroom sink and I could have built it out of platinum, but maybe that would have been just a little unnecessary. The question is one of diminishing returns. For example, would a temperature control device add to the sink's usefulness? Would it be 10% better. If it were, does the 10% justify the added expense? Of course there are many types of temperature controls, some more expensive than others, each with its concomitant percentage improvement from the less expensive one. Generalizing here, the engineers among us would usually go a step or two further than the bean counters towards a higher goal of better performance for a little more. At some point, holding a tenth of a degree isn't going to help very much for developing film, or other photographic processes.... and then we label it "academic".

    However, when it comes to the art itself, its quite another matter. "Good enough" is thought of as a commercial metaphor. "Satisfies the Art Director's need... or desire", for example. When it comes to a Fine Artist, the viewer can usually sense how far a person went to achieve the desired result. When someone makes an exquisite print, it shows. When an artist has a show and the prints have a visible consistency, then its clear that the approach was deliberate. Many artists are willing to make as many test prints as it takes until it feels right to them; there is no concept of "good enough" for that kind of process.

    Lenny
    EigerStudios
    Museum Quality Drum Scanning and Printing

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    Re: "good enough" what does it mean to you ?

    I think it often takes time to appreciate what I print, or to discern that the end point has been reached. I was making some photopolymer gravures some time ago, and there is always this or that needing to be improved. But looking back some months later it's clear where I should have stopped. Experience is what teaches us when to stop.

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