Hello friend. Today I wanted to write about my photographic process and why I do it. A lot of people ask to see the photographs I took of whatever thing we saw together and I almost always tell them I haven’t edited them yet, I haven’t even looked at them. This tends to surprise a lot of people. It’s an unconventional approach. I mean the whole reason why people shoot digitally is so that they can have instant access to the photographs that they take.
I would argue that this is more of a vice than a virtue. Creating a great photograph is really fucking hard, it takes weeks and often months of deliberate practice to create something that’s really amazing. I believe that through waiting to look at my photographs I become more objective when it comes to selecting which photographs to show the world. This is because the act of editing should be separate from the act of taking photos. When I take photographs I’m childishly ecstatic about capturing the thing in front of me, it’s a process that feels amazing. But that doesn’t necessarily mean I’ve made a good photograph. To make a good photograph you need to have the entire image come together and have all of the individual parts co-operate to convey the message clearly and beautifully. Just because I have a well composed image doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ve made a good photograph, it just means that I’ve successfully composed the subject matter. To create a great photograph you need to have a beaming love for the thing in front of you. When I’m out taking photographs I love the process of capturing the world around me and I love the idea of putting my feelings into a final print. But it’s precisely because I enjoy taking photos so much that I need to wait before choosing which images to put into the world. I still have some of that emotional feeling of taking the photograph lingering in my mind which clouds my judgement when it comes to communicating effectively. This is because The viewer wasn’t there when I took the photo, they don’t have that same emotional attachment that I do.
In order to create a good photograph you need to think about how you’re viewer will receive the image, they aren’t going to have the same emotional attachment that the photographer has. I wait three months before looking at my photographs because if I don’t then I won’t be able to see the image the same way that the viewer sees them. I need to wait in order to better put myself into the position of the viewer. The longer I wait the less emotional I feel when looking at the photos. I don’t have that same rush of blood, the excitement of taking the photo is gone, and I’m able to see the photograph for what it is. I rarely make great photos, but if I work at it every day then eventually I end up making something worthwhile. Often times it’s not even the photograph that I think is the good one, but a separate image that I had less of an emotional attachment to. Photography is a language, and I feel the need to make sure the people that view my work don’t see the bad images. In order to communicate effectively to our audience we need to make sure that we as artists aren’t projecting our personal perceptions onto the work and are instead creating works that are valuable in themselves, not in our heads.