Quite often a photographer’s favourite photo is the latest one they’ve made that doesn’t suck too much. That favourite image is then inevitably supplanted by their next photo that doesn’t suck too much.
Nothing wrong with measuring your success by admiring the endless parade of photos you’ve made that have, shall we say, worked out. Unless, of course, you view photography as something more than just liking your latest good picture.
If you consider each of your photos as a piece of a larger construct you will be forced to look at and judge your photos on merits other than “hey! this looks good”. You’ll need to assess them by how they fit into the larger scheme of things.
I mention this because of where I am in the edit/sequence of my new project. All the shooting, up to now, has been done without thinking about specifics too much. I had a general idea, shot a whole bunch of pictures that might somehow support that thesis, and trusted that I had enough options to make the edit/sequence work.
But now, at this point of the project, I realize I need a few more specific images to make the sequence smoother. One of them being a portrait-type photo of a young woman.
So I went out and shot it (yesterday). It has become my latest picture that (I think) doesn’t suck too much.
Whether it will actually work for the project remains to be seen. I have to print it, insert it into the sequence, and see what’s what. I hope it’s what I need, but there’s every chance it’ll join the big pile of photos that I like but just don’t work.
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Last week I was wondering why my projects don’t all look the same. Same goes for this blog. I mean, of course there’s a kind of continuity here, dead horses I continue to flog. (Writer Martin Amis once said, “The only reason to flog a dead horse is for the pure enjoyment of it”.)
I think we’re all a bit like that, us humans, us photographers. We latch on to something (or other) and somehow (or other) the tables turn and the thing we’ve latched onto gets its hooks into us. That can be good up to a point, obsession must be part of any practice, mustn’t it? But what’s even better is when that obsession is tempered by a larger perspective, a longer view. That’s where theory meets practice, where the inner meets the outer, where old thoughts are tempered by new possibilities.
I can tell you (and you probably know with being told) that some weeks I’m just itching to say something, something is on my mind, I’m affected by, and infected with, some verve. Other weeks, not so much. But I’m committed to posting something (or other) every Sunday. Like church.
I like the structure. And, sometimes, when I sit down to write, I’m blank, empty, depressed. I’ve got nothing, but the process of writing leads to something (or other). (Or not.)
It’s all really just a shot in the dark, isn’t it? But the important thing is to take a shot.
And, because of the relatively short gestation period from post to post, drool. reflects my state of mind in a different way than my photo projects.
drool. fulfills a function for me. Like my photo projects it’s a way to keep track and to reckon, to try to understand myself and the world, and to leave a trace of my passage through.
a newsletter / tony fouhse
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