I worked as a school photographer last season. There was one guy I worked with, who everyone agreed was a nuisance to work with. He had been to film school and once referred to himself as a “Steve Jobs type.” He could talk your ear off about gear, gadgets, resolution, sound, lighting, etc. But in his mid fifties, he was still working as a school photographer with some wedding gigs on the side.
This guy held the same type of ideas that you seem to hold in this paragraph. “If I could just capture the perfect shot.” “If the lighting was just right.” But it got him nowhere. I think this is because there was nothing behind what he captured. Like when someone witnesses a violin virtuoso but knows from how they play that they’ve never experienced life outside the practice room.
I think it’s because we connect through the muddy, murky things like emotions. We experience this connection almost immediately and cannot exactly explain it. We just feel it. In those “crappy” pictures, you captured a story within an image that spoke to people. It facilitated a feeling of connectedness. Pretty awesome if you ask me, even if they aren’t perfect images.