There are two ways of looking at a thing.
Either you feel that a thing must be perfect before you present it to the public, or you are willing to let it go out even knowing that it is not perfect, because you are striving for something even beyond what you have achieved, but in struggling too hard for perfection you know that you may lose the very glimmer of life, the very spirit of the thing that you also know exists at a particular point in what you have done; and that to interfere with it would be to destroy that very living quality.
I am myself in favor of practising in public. There are, of course, those people who say, ‘But the public is not interested in watching people practice. It wants the finished thing or nothing.’ My answer is that if one does not practice in public in reality, then in nine cases out of then the world will never see the finished product of one’s work. Some people go on the assumption that if a thing is not a hundred percent perfect it should not be given to the world, but I have seen too many things that were a hundred percent perfect that were spiritually dead, and then things that have been seemingly incomplete that have life and vitality, which I prefer by for to the other so-called perfect thing.
It is one thing to think about a piece of work as a scientific or objective entity that will stand up a hundred years hence, and another to think of a living quality of the person doing the thing and of his development. Is the think felt – doesn’t it come out of an inner need – an inner must? Is one ready to die for it?… that is the only test…”
Quoted by Dorothy Norman from America and Alfred Stieglitz, page 136-137, Doubleday, Doran + Company, 1934.
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