As I read through critiques, a prevalent type of comment goes something like, "you can clean up the yellow spots in the leaf or the flower," try getting rid of the hand off to the side in the foreground," "you might remove the telephone pole/wires in that landscape." This tendency to disinfect is noteworthy in a lot of photos as well. Although in many cases it works to advantage, I'm not sure I understand the ubiquitous need for cleaning up reality. Can it be more interesting to work with it rather than sanitizing it? Flowers, for instance, other than plastic or silk ones, have a life and death cycle, yet I rarely see that expressed. I'm pretty new to this site, and am not trying to be alienating, just ponderous. I'm sure there's stuff out there that successfully accomplishes what I'm looking for, and if you can point me in those directions, I'd much appreciate it. I'm curious to hear others' views on this subject. I'm NOT suggesting there are or should be any rules and know there are times when the stamp tool comes in very handy. What I'm basically wondering is if creativity can flourish even more with a bit less dependence on the goal of perfection. It may just boil down to the difference between the pretty picture and the gritty picture but I suspect there's more to it than that.