Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Making Decisions

One of my favorites from my portrait session with Gladia Bell *

I was reading an old copy of Photographer's Forum this morning and ran across an interesting quote by Gary Monroe.  "One must have an appetite for failure.  Ninety-nine percent of my photographs are near misses.  I don't make photographs for recognition.  I make photographs for my edification."

The quote captured my attention because, I also create photographs for my edification. Each time I complete a photo session I increase my knowledge of how the camera works, and how to work with the camera. Then, there is the joy that comes when the image appears in the dark room tray or on the computer screen. (I would say on the LCD screen of my camera - but I just cannot see enough detail on that tiny little screen.) It's hard work, but most of the time, picture taking is just plain great fun.  I'm reaching the point where I want to be paid for the time and effort I put into creating a great photo - hence all the work this summer establishing online galleries, and a website, designing business cards, and trying to post to this blog at least once a week. Yet, I know when I do reach the point of being paid for my work, it will always be the fun of creating the images that will continue to bring me back to the camera.

The other part of Monroe's quote - "Ninety-nine percent of my photographs are near misses." rings true for me too.  But probably I have more absolute misses and fewer near misses than he does.  I'm not willing to spend all those hours working on something that is not as good as I can get it when I'm in the traditional dark room, however,  on the digital side, it is difficult for me to delete anything but the worst of the worst. Up to this point I have been willing to post or print the "near misses" and close to the "gosh awfuls", because I like the pose, or the light, or the expression on the face - something attracts me to the photo even though I know the exposure is off, the image is a bit soft or something else simply doesn't work.  "Winnow judiciously", my instructor Jerry Burchfield admonished, more than once, as I tried to decide which image to submit for a class assignment. I'm just beginning to understand what he meant.

S0, starting today I'm committing to making better decisions, only the best of the best for publication.  I'll keep those "not quite ready for prime time" images in a separate folder for now - but no more near misses for my galleries....

* I love taking portraits of people over 80, I call these images my Legacy Portraits. Gladia is 87 years old. She still drives, stays busy  volunteering several times a week and keeps close tabs on her  friends and family.  She was bubbly and energetic the whole time we worked together.  You can see more of her images here.  An example of too many  "near misses" mixed in with the winners. 

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