Projects, Editing, And Distance

I spent another hour this morning going though my semi-insane but illuminating edit process for a long-term project. The term edit used in the sense of cull, choose, etc. rather than modify, manipulate, or choose a particular look. To summarize, my edit process starts from scratch every time, looking at the entirety of what I shot on a particular day. I compare that go-around to the last time I went through them all. What I’m looking for is a consistent set of choices that have months of time between each. Today I found stasis ion a particular group of images shot a little over a year ago.

Sounds great but now the really hard part comes. I don’t have a target number I need from any particular occasion. I don’t even have a target for how many images the project will ultimately contain. I have an loose idea. I know for certain I don’t want anywhere near 47 from any particular occasion My gut tells me more like five. The pile will sit for a while before I attempt to decide. I may even look at those 47 in the context of other sets reaching the same steady-state. A much better idea than attempting to force some really small number looking at one subject on one particular day in isolation.

Culling that forty-seven down do something that makes any sense has many challenges that increase exponentially when folding in the dozens of other subjects I’ve photographed for the project. Those come in a few different forms. The image at the top of the post serves as a reasonable illustration of one challenge. Without context or juxtaposition it doesn’t communicate anything about what the project is about. Even if I did juxtapose it against something else It probably doesn’t work in the context of the project. Here’s the rub; I really like that one. It’s easy to force that picture into making sense when it doesn’t. I’ll contrast the red herring above with a couple that work much better but I don’t like as much.

Or maybe this one will work better depending on how I lay out the primary project presentation…

One thing I am sure of is that the top one that I like the best does nothing for communicating what is the core of questions and observations of the sole reason I’m working on this project in the first place.

This image certainly works better — different day different but that should serve to clarify the conundrum a bit.

The funny part is that the above photograph may not make it into the final project. I’m not sure I like it enough. Depending on what you are trying to accomplish with a given project these kinds of things are actually the hard part. Making those editorial decisions on top of your aesthetic sensibilities. This particular one stands out but there are a lot that creep in that aren’t so easy to spot. One thing that helps is distance but this isn’t a sure fire thing.


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