Thursday, 28 February 2008

Own worst critic

Gordium, Stourhead, April 2007

I read a lot of photographers expressing the opinion that they need time of detachment to be able to properly edit their work. It is as if it is a vital part of the photographic process to provide detachment to be objective, with the implication (or explication) that immediacy creates a positive emotional attachment to the work.

I must be odd, for I find the exact opposite. When I am first looking through the photos from a day's shooting or a whole trip, I often find very little that I feel truly reflects good stuff and bears any relation to my experience of the time. The time of detachment actually creates a more favourable impression, I see more merit in the rejects and I often go back and rework things from an earlier time. The image with this blog is a case in point. At the time I only worked up about 3 shots from the hundred or so from that day but now I'm finding a few decent ones amongst them.

My initial feelings about places or events are very particular and at the time I never feel like I am capturing that essence in my photographs properly - hence the very limited selections. By letting those feelings subside to memories I can get more from recreating the sense of the time and place through selecting and working with more of the shots. The fear is that this revisiting does 2 things, it recreates a false sense of the time and it may introduce mediocrity into my photographs. It is almost as if my emotional clock is running in reverse to everyone else in that respect.

1 comment:

  1. When I first read your post, I didn't quite catch it. I thought you had got something mixed up. But here is how it goes.

    I am much like you. I need the time of detachment before I start to find shots I like. immediately after I shoot, most of the frames looks like crap. So, if you think you're odd, you have a soulmate right here.

    The strange part is that until I read your post, I associated myself with the group you mentioned at the beginning of your post. I didn't think of it as the exact opposite. I just thought detachment vs. immediate selection, not the reason we need to detach.


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