I missed Iron Man for this. No seriously I did. Kind of an odd thing to say, at least to start off this post, but is true. Anyway, I was supposed to see Iron Man Sunday with my boss and friend, Jake from Blue Moon Camera. I was actually looking forward to it too. I have not been to the movies in a very long time. Just has not been much of quality I have cared
to pay the money for. Especially since I can wait a few months and get them for free from the library and watch them at home. ;-) But I had decided to give Iron Man a try, it looked decent at least.
Instead I ended up on a five mile round trip hike through the snow (without snowshoes either) with Manyfires to reach this secluded, but amazing waterfall. It really is an amazing spot too. This photo captures a bit of its beauty but does nothing for imparting its size or grandeur.
Anyway, I took a number of photos of this. Some were digital infrared
, a few of which turned out quite interesting and I plan on posting at least one of them in the short term. I also put together a multiple shot Holga panoramic that I have not scanned and assembled just yet. But I liked this shot best at the moment in terms of posting.
Which leads me into what I have promised to write about in terms of editing. Editing is an often over-looked skill when it comes to photography. I would even go as far as to say it is the most important often-overlooked skill. I heard a good quote once that sort of sums up how important editing can be, "A big difference between a professional and an amateur is that you only see the professional's best work". Think about that for a moment. No photography is perfect and snaps contest winners with every shot. We all get bum ones. Some of us more than others. But even if you are at the ratio of one good shot for every 1000 bad ones, if you edit properly you can make your portfolio look as nice, if not better than someone who has even a much higher degree of success but does a poorer job editing.
But see, editing is subjective business. That is what makes it so tricky. We are all tied into our photos on a personal nature, often easily able to over look their flaws or come roaring to their defense when the quality of one of our photos is brought into question. But I get ahead of myself.
The first suggestion I would make for those wishing to get better at this is to have a clear goal. You need to have a goal. You will edit a different selection of images for different purposes. If you are applying for publishing in a landscape magazine, you will send along a different portfolio than you will for contemporary fine art magazine. You will also pull together a different selection of images than you might say post to Flickr. It all comes down to who you wish to speak to and what you want those photos to say. Be clear on this and concise.
My second suggestion is to try and set aside your personal attachments to whatever degree you can. Hard to do, easy to say. Actually, impossible to do completely. Get help. Have friends and family help you cull your images down. I guarantee you will lose images you don't want to, but find ones you had not noticed.
Be concise. This is a case where less is more. At the moment I am sort of sticking with the idea of a porfolio, which generally is well rounded at about a dozen images. A dozen strong images will always speak much better than 40 images, even if they are all strong. It is just too much. It overloads the viewer.
To hop away from the idea of a portfolio and over to Flickr, the same holds true. I have a fairly clear goal for my Flickr stream. Loosely it is maintain variety, to show new perspectives that might help inspire others in their photography. To not just show the "pretty" images but ones that I find stimulating intellectually. Most of the time, this happens to be my successes, sometimes though they are not, not if the image in its failure (in my opinion at least) has something valuable to offer. I see Flickr as an amazing learning tool, and that is how I post to it. I have said before that I have no interest in impressing others on here, I would much rather inspire them. And that is my modus operandi when it comes to selecting what I post. That gives you all a bit of a personal look into how my logic operates in terms of what I select.
But I also try to limit my posts. Usually no more than one a day, often one only every couple of days. This is partly because of my lack of time to post a lot. It also affects how much I am able to browse and comment as well. But I also limit my posts because I want to give every image a chance to be enjoyed, for what it has to offer to be absorbed by those viewing it. If I posted twenty images a day, I would dilute that. I am not saying that posting so many images is always wrong though. I know some very prolific photographers whose goal is to post a million images, literally. Their goals
Camera: Canonet QL17 GIII
Film: Ilford Delta 400
Location: Hopvine Pub, Seattle
I read this phrase on a bulletin board at my local photo lab awhile back and it has really stuck with me. The correlation of photography being a reflection of our view of the world seems like an easy enough assertion to make. Yet the more I thought about this idea the more complex it became.
I started to question how much my photography really was a reflection of how I saw the world. Like with any hobby or art form, photography can be viewed as a creative release. A way to express feelings, idea, and thoughts. Yet at the same time photography, being a medium so readily available to the masses is also used for more conventional purposes as recording events and memories not so much for the art but rather to preserve that moment in time.
Neither one of these practices should be seen as more valuable than the other. So often we are quick to judge photography in a split second. Even Flickr for as great a tool as it is for sharing and expressing our work suffers from this issue. Most of us only spending a few seconds a minute most viewing others photos before we move on to the next. I certainly am guilty of this.
As I continue to grow as a photographer I feel more of a yearning to share my photography with people outside Flickr and the internet. I feel part of the film photography process is lacking when I just scan my negatives into digital files. Recently I garnered
up enough courage to submit three of my images for an upcoming toy camera gallery showing.
None of my images where selected, which initially really disappointed me. Yet the experience helped propel me to begin making prints of my images and framing my work. Which was a huge goal for me this year. I feel very much in my infancy in photography and how I see the world through a lens. Seeing my work displayed on a wall in my home just makes it seem that much more real. As though it somehow legitimizes my work.
In a way I feel the notion 'how you see is who you are' is as much a state of mind as anything. The more confident one feels in their work the better their future results will be. I may not always produce the best results every time, but I have a growing sense of confidence. I like what I see, and how I see for its who I am.