December 29th, 2016 … Finding Your Place Amongst The Masses

When we look over our work, it starts to become obvious about how we approach photography. I think it’s maybe time to rip into what we did for the year and seek a solution for our spot in the grand scheme of things. The masses I’m referring to are the masses of photos you made and fell in love with. I suppose this could be thought of as a way to organize ones work. Years ago I used to lay out my work and get answers to the riddle of my photography.

I would lay out about 12 prints on the floor in a horizontal line. Then try to make sense of what they were saying to me. Maybe take one out, add one whatever. The scrabble system. I would look at photos and try to find a belonging to one on the line. Then add this photo horizontally up or down in line where they fit together.after a while, it starts to become clear where my efforts were at.

We can’t do that digitally unless you make many prints. There is no software that does this either. So I needed to find another method. Ok, this is the hard core method and if you need less of  strong result, by all means change the numbers I lay out.

Here we go. Look in your catalog for the year and very carefully, select the very best images and just 1 per week. If you worked every week, you should have between 48-52 photos. If you worked less, just take one from every week as long as you feel it’s your best work. Open a collection in LR or whatever you use. Move the photos around to get them in a sequence that makes you happy and it makes sense. What you are looking for is the common denominator between photos. It may at first seem very random but trust me, and trust yourself, it’s not random at all.

Don’t remove anything from the catalog yet. In fact, go back over everything and pull one shot from each month and work them on the collection. By now you should be seeing photos that work together or look like a series, group, no matter hat you call it, just look and feel the photos.

Lets say you have 8 photos of the rain and umbrellas etc. Gather them together and open a new collection named “Rain” and put them in there. Ohhh you just discovered 9 photos of low light, so make a collection “Low Light” and put them in there. You get the idea. Now go back again and pull 1 photo for every other month. Sort them and place them in a collection.

After you feel you have all the really good photos that resonate with your eye, heart and mind…….close LR or whatever and forget about the stuff for at least a week. Go make photos and do not look at your collections. The reason is that the collections are looking at you.

After a week or so passes, open LR and look at the collections, 1 at a time. Do not edit anything out. Every image has the potential to push you against yourself and lead to a new direction or lay a solid foundation with what your doing now. When you study this work, you are studying all that you are as a human with a camera. Your thoughts, feelings, sensitivities and everything you are is here in front of you. It is said that every photo is part of a mosaic of the portrait of yourself. So, your looking at yourself. You also can see what attracts you, what trigger mechanisms etc are working with you.

Life is a passing dream but it doesn’t mean you have o be asleep to dream. The best dreams are the ones we have while we are awake in the here and now.

The point here for this method is to get you organized in the here and now and to understand how and why you work.

Be Blessed Everybody and have a Lovely Romantic Happy New Years.

shooter out……………………………………………………………………..

9 thoughts on “December 29th, 2016 … Finding Your Place Amongst The Masses”

  1. Thanks for the tips Don. I can use all the photo organizational help I can get – Lol! By the way – I sprang for the Oly 12 in black. The weather in Minneapolis in winter is not very conducive to outdoor street shooting but downtown has an extensive skyway system so was thinking that the 12 would be a good fit to roaming the close quarters of the skyway system. Have a great New Year weekend!

    1. Dave, the 12mm is the lens for the Pen F. Of course others work but that lens on the street…hard to beat. Have a great New Years and best of health and everything to you and yours.

    1. That’s great Pavel. The thing about doing this…you will discover the path you have forged in the past. You more importantly will discover new directions to move forward. Lots of other stuff but you’ll find this out as go.
      Happy New Years my friend.

    1. Fran, it works and is full of surprises. Start it with an open mind and heart and you’ll be fine. If you need help, let me know.
      Happy New Years.

  2. What I have been doing mostly is classic bw document + street. Mostly sharp photos of people in their environment, mostly in not so nice areas. Many times people from social periphery.

    Most of the photos included people. People with dogs. Often children. It is easier to me to shoot children, obviously. I don’t have a block to shoot them directly. (6 in my selection)

    Many of the photos shows loneliness of the person. which is obviously one of the biggest cliches… and there are 15 pictures of those in my selection (and hundreds everywhere else)

    Some photos were without people. I like thoise because they tell a little story …

    I often included my shadow to the scene:

    There are some photos when subject is close to me and looking directly at me. While I like those photos a lot – it is not my style, but something I wished to do. These were made from the him and very quickly so the subject is not sure if I am photographing.

    I also did blurred photos, but not so much. But I love those I made. One of those I like the most is this one:

    So, I made these collections:

    – lonely person
    – children
    – blur
    – no people (or after people left)
    – flare

    Just thoughts I have when I am looking at my “2016-weeks” selection:

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