How to make an effective pictures selection?
A hint is here:
“Don’t bin pictures you don’t understand or think are worthless”
Sometime in the past I looked at complex pictures and didn’t understand them. I was focusing on pure technical aspects like sharpness, abberations or how pleasant to my eyes a picture was in terms of bokeh (which is still important but in different type of photography and I will create a separate post about it). However it changed a bit…
After couple years of pure gear fascination I discovered Magnum and other photography associations. That was a massive punch to my face which totally disorganized my perception and way of seeing things. I tried to do similar pictures with miserable effects…however after consequent excercises through years I can at least accept my own work (I am very critique about it). It is definitely not the stage when pictures become photographs but I am confident about the direction and what should be improved.
I remember lots of deleted pictures (sometimes by accident) by judging them too early. When you are right after documenting an event or just a walk through a city and know that you have a valuable picture – postpone the preview. Do it later after couple days*. There are some exceptions e.g. when documenting events requiring quick delivery then an immediate pictures selection & postprocessing is a must. This is a specific case and I fully understand it with my wife as we do wedding photography. Yes we are shooting weddings – don’t be shocked. It requires our flexibility and I will share some experience in the future. Let’s focus on the street photography where we have luxury of time for anticipating and lastly for editing.
The funniest part of the editing street photos (in my case) is that I find pictures that couple years ago were worthless and now I see their power and meaning. IMHO it is a good practice to get rid of the emotional link with the work and treat it as stranger’s pictures.
You may ask why to do so? The reason is very simple. The emotional link blocks the true judgment and the honest criticism. When I look into my portfolio from the distance of 5-10 years I wouldn’t pick certain shoots for printing and it was a good decission to not delete some pictures from the past. I dig into 2016-2017 now, finding really good frames. That is a fantastic discovery! To be honest, it was rather an instinct to not bin them at all. This is why I come back to the work I did long time ago when saw imperfections with chaos only. After a recent fresh look with no emotions I can see images where everything corelates and build the frames in an interesting way! I think M.Parr was right saying that in a bunch of rubbish you may find something really good. In the era of digital photography it is not a problem to collect lots of ‘rubbish’. The real challange is to analyze it with unbiased eye & mind.
There’s another topic related with it – making archives and creating backups. Archiving will be really interesting for most people keen on event photography especially when talking thousands of pictures. I can say something more as a wedding photographer: imagine 6-7k pictures from one event… then the archiving is a CHALLANGE! Stay tuned then 🙂
Interested? Drop a comment below – maybe you have some different views on selection process we may help 🙂