Fotos. You take them, but what do you do with them?
These days you probably throw them up on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
And you probably throw them up just about as they happen. Those singles add
up over time, give the folks following you a non-verbal insight into your insight.
If you’re more ambitious you’ll have a Tumblr, an actual concise, consecutive
flow of images.
But if you’re serious about fotografy you’ll edit them, edit in the old-fashioned
sense of choosing the ones that best move forward your thesis (you do have a
thesis, don’t you?) and put them in a sequence that provokes thought and/or
reaction. Of course, you’ll never be able to predict or control how any viewers
will think or react, but that’s beside the point. The point is to take your practice
to a conclusion.
And we all know that conclusions are tricky.
The reason I’m thinking about this today (well, there are a bunch of reasons),
but the main reason is: I have 7 sheets of 4×5 film left and when that’s gone
I’m calling OFFICIAL OTTAWA done. Or at least shot . . . it won’t be done until
its been edited and sequenced. Pushed and pulled into a final shape.
7 sheets of 4×5 film
Some Official Ottawa
Possible page spread: Jeffery Simpson, nat’l affairs columnist; Banners celebrating the War of 1812
Possible layout, Official Ottawa
Some Official Ottawa. Prints for the editing wall
The fotos are the nuts and bolts of the thing. But nuts and bolts are only really
useful for assembling a larger thing. And that’s what an edit is, something that
is larger than its component parts, something that sums another thing up. And,
if you ask me, something any serious fotografer must spend time and emotion
And while I’m contemplating the end and the final shape and look and feel of
OFFICIAL OTTAWA , we at STRAYLIGHT are whipping the next book into shape.
SadCity, by Scot Sothern.
We’re waiting for some bound, blank, pages to see if the look and the binding
will work. At the same time we’re figuring ways to combine the fotos and the
stories into a book.
Nuts and bolts. But it’s definitely not like assembling some Ikea thing. There
are no instructions.