Creative: Photography Advice, Let it Be

Doing some deep cover research.

We live in a world consumed by rushing work to market, but as they say “speed kills.” Letting something be, like your photography, allows the work to marinate and allows for the work to become something more than a speed bump in the imaging race. So, let it be. Relax. Chillax. Mello out. Put the work in a box, bury it, wait a year and go dig it up.

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16 Comments on “Creative: Photography Advice, Let it Be”

  1. I’ve been pondering cutting you out of my will now for some time, perhaps sartorial jealousy….but now it’s getting serious Daneil: is that a digital camera you have hanging off your neck?

    1. MTN,
      Yes, it is. Full disclosure. I just drove 3000 miles with a Canon 5D Mark IV. Insanely good camera. But, I’m digging out the old M4 today. And the TRI-X. And a new journal. Time to make the jump to Light Speed.

  2. Hi Daniel, Hi Luna. Great post and Luna; good comment. I love your Sicily work, Daniel, and can’t believe that you didn’t make contact prints! It’s no surprise that editing software provides a digital ‘contact print’ view, but as you say, it’s too soon. When you take a photograph you have mental view of the result. If you view it too quickly you may reject it because it doesn’t correspond to your mental image.
    Sometimes you find ‘sleepers’, photographs that didn’t fit your intentions of a story when you took it, but years later give you that ‘how did I miss this’ moment. Good advice. Take time, don’t delete.

    1. Mike,
      The deleting thing is really strange. I know really good photographers who ONLY save a handful of edits from each shoot because they can’t stand the idea of archiving anything. I know wire guys who ONLY save the images they transmit. Some of them have revealed to me the extent of the work the’ve lost over the years and are looking back now trying to figure out why they went this route. I never toss anything. Film or digital.

      1. When I shot slides I tossed the bad ones because that seemed to be what was done when you shot slides (I guess I was a little too susceptible to the advice of older photographers: “Real men only keep the keepers, the rest goes in the trash” etc). I guess that kind of carried over to my digital photography because man I sure deleted a lot in the beginning. I wish I didn’t. Now I just move the bad ones to another folder and ignore them for awhile. Lo and behold I have actually found some gems while revisiting the “duds.”

        1. Mark,
          I came up under those same guidelines. Toss it. And I did. A major mistake. But today we have so many photographers who only care about getting something online as soon as possible, and keeping your archive means more work. Archive work doesnt’ translate to following so why bother? This applies to pros as much as prosumers.

  3. Humbly, I prefer to do a first edit (chose what I think are my keepers and rate them) as reasonably soon as possible so that I still have the ‘experience’ of what I was feeling when I shot it in the forefront of my mind. THEN, l leave it and let it marinade. When I come back I can judge it all over again but I have a reference of what I felt then as to what I feel now. Then all the other decision makers and technical judgement can follow.

    1. JT,
      That’s typically what I do. If I have something good I’ll typically print it. Not like I have any reason to be in a hurry these days.

  4. Canon 5D Mark IV
    I hate digital cameras. They mostly make me feel like when I flunked physics in high school. They have too many settings I don’t understand. It’s like I’m calibrating a moon launch. 😉

    1. Jim,
      I’ve always had a hard time with them too. I have a hard time with all electronics. Phones, cars, cameras, computers.

  5. Dan,
    I just listend to your story today. Same kind of thing happened to me just a few days ago. In 1999 I was living in Spain working as a photojournalist for a mayor german paper in Spain. On my sparetime i went to Valencia and trying to do some streetlife photos. I took pictures nearly daily of the same pedestrian crossing. Waiting for the lights turning to green and photographing people on the move.
    With one picture I was very happy so I made a nice print out of it, it ran in the paper as well. In 2019 , now living in germany, I thougt of the photograph and went back to Valencia doing the same picture again twenty years later. When I came back , I looked at the old negatives from 1999 and was surprised. The frame next to the one I printed made me paused. It was so much more of interest. It was a photo where everyone on the street was looking directly in the camera. They were all kind of surprised but not affraid. I scanned the frame an made a print. I don`t know why this frame did not cought my attention back in the days. But i realised , sometimes it needs time to let the photographs mature. Or maybe it is me? Time will tell…
    Great podcasts you´re doing! I enjoy them here in Stuttgart!
    All the best

    1. Leif,
      Hello Stuttgart! Yes. Sometimes your images need to marinate. Sometimes we MISS so much the first time we look. I never used to make contact sheets because they were too expensive. I missed SO much. Going back through old negs is like having a new life.

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