the editing process

I am engaged by photographs that elicit an emotional response.  I want my own photographs to meet that standard and yet I realize that it is totally subjective.  What one viewer finds sorrowful or joyful will likely be different from another’s view.  But still, if we (as the photographer) are moved by a scene, a moment, or an event then it is likely that our audience will catch on to something that pulls them in.   So the question for me, when helping clients or friends edit their work, is this: Am I engaged?  Am I taking some extra time to really see the photograph or is it a ‘one look’ photo, a photo that might be graphically stunning but is one-dimensional? What are you trying to communicate as a photographer?  Anything? What is your point of view?  Do you have one?  Or is it simply a picture of  a pretty scene, thing, event?  What does the photograph say about you, the photographer?  Are there clues or is the mystery part of the appeal?  In short, to paraphrase Sam Abell: Is it involving? 

Of all the challenges to creating a successful or engaging photograph, among them lighting, technique, composition, setting, and gesture, the communication of feeling is for me the most important. Here is a small gallery with a wide array of subjects for you to critique. 

A note about Sam: Over 1,000 people attended the opening of his new show, Amazonia, at the University of Oregon on Saturday, January 16th.  Sam, along with the wonderful Danish photographer, Torben Nissen, spent months in the headwaters of the Amazon and came back with compelling, thoughtful images that tell the story of one of earth’s most precious resources.  I hope you’ll get to see the show.

8 Responses to “the editing process”

  1. January 17, 2010 at 8:15 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. In fact, this same notion led me to create a new workshop, called “Approaching the Digital Image” where I try to convey this sense of having an attachment to your photo and trying to create a final image that conveys the emotion or experience that led to the original capture.

    I love the images you chose to share as well. The cemetery shots, in particular, I find very evocative…


  2. January 18, 2010 at 7:53 am

    Great posts – makes me think about all the photos I take and how I need to rethink the images I shoot. Being engaged – seeing it for what it is – not just a snapshot (a moment in time!).

    Congrats to Sam on the show – I’m sure it was thrilling for you to be there. We’re hoping we’ll be home at the right time for the visit in March.

    Take care,

  3. January 18, 2010 at 5:39 pm

    Editing is such a problematic process! I have found that images which I consider “engaging” to be discarded by many viewers and images that I have thought of as slight to be engaging to viewers. It is puzzling to me. I do know that my history with the image plays a big part, I was there when the shutter clicked, when it was processed and through proofing to the final print. Therefore, I see it differently than anyone else. Everyone brings a full basket when pressing the shutter and/or when looking at an exhibition. Personal prejudices? Nothing new there. Editing may just come down to an exhibition of my personal prejudices and the hope that the viewer may connect in some way.

    • January 18, 2010 at 5:51 pm

      Hi Larry,
      Great points here. I especially like “Everyone brings a full basket when pressing the shutter…” It’s true. And yet, can we refine it? I think the answer is always yes and the question will always be subjective.
      Thanks for checking the blog. by the way, your Billy Burger image still rises up for me from time to time…as does Famous Photographic Viewpoint….. Check out this blog: http://www.six-eight-eleven.blogspot.com …drill down into it. There are a couple of shots that reminded me of the feeling of a few of yours. AND….he lives in Powell, WY! Your beloved hometown.
      Best, K

  4. 7 Wil
    January 20, 2010 at 4:45 am

    Terrific post Keron. This is perhaps that hardest thing for newer photographers to grasp. All of their images are compelling to them. They haven’t developed a more critical eye and heart. You are spot on with this post and the images are very well chosen too.

    • January 20, 2010 at 12:41 pm

      Hi Wil,
      Thanks for the comment….but keep in mind….even seasoned pros need help! I’ve watched legends give slideshows of 500 – 600 – 700 images. Basically, we ALL need help and an objective voice and I’m at the top of the list!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

my website...galleries, other writing,

Flypaper Textures

Flypaper Textures

Trafalgar Square Horse Books

January 2010


News on the go

%d bloggers like this: