The Importance of Editing

I was listening to the Magic Hour podcast this weekend as the host Jordan Weitzman spoke to photographer Mark Steinmetz. The whole episode is great but the following quote (around 19:22) really captured my attention.

Mark explained,

I’m much more interested in an edited version of photography. I believe that good photographs are extremely difficult to make. You have to, it requires a kind of careful awake mind to make a picture that contains a lot. You simply don’t see it on the Internet.

This is where I’ve been struggling. For so long I wasn’t thoughtful or careful about what or how I was shooting. Instead of working to make something good and sharing it because I thought it was good, I kept waiting for some external definition of quality.

Don’t do it for anyone else.

In the last few weeks I’ve deleted thousands of images. It wasn’t just the old, out of focus, basic images that found the recycle bin. It was the images that didn’t have anything to say to me.

It’s clear that if an image doesn’t speak to me then it has no voice to speak to anyone else.

You can find Mark’s work on his website.


Educational Film: Lesson 2

Seattle, Leica R8 + Sumicron-R 35, CineStill 50D

When I bought the Leica R8 the seller was kind enough to throw in some of the film stock he had. That included a couple of rolls of CineStill 50 Daylight film. I’d never shot any like it, though in my past I’d always loved Fuji Velvia 50 for landscapes.

It didn’t matter to me that the film was expired. It was “free”. I was a film novice (again). What’s to lose?

In general I didn’t like the results of that first roll. It wasn’t because its a bad film. I just didn’t shoot it properly in the conditions that are optimal for it. The roll wasn’t a total loss.

I liked a few shots including the one above. You can see the fading and artifacts, especially in the top left, that I think are the result of the expired film. I actually like the effect in this image.

Lesson 2: While you have to choose the right tool for the job (camera, lens, film) you won’t grow if you don’t experiment. Trying new things just to see what happens is one of the best ways to learn. Being surprised is part of the fun.