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.
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.