too many pictures?
I’ve been in that new-year-lack-of-inspiration type rut since, well, since christmas I suppose.
I’m thinking about what I’ve done, and what I want to do, and where I want to take my photography this year. I thought I may get some inspiration from a browse of my archives, and I took a wander through using the Cooliris plugin for Flickr in Firefox. It’s a nice way to skip quickly and intuitively through a large amount of shots, and allow single click enlarging. Anyway, enough about that.
I started looking at one of my shots and thought “that would look quite nice printed, why haven’t I picked it out before?”. Then I realised that it had simply got lost in a sea of images. I consider the stuff I upload to flickr to be my keepers – quite often what gets to flickr has survived two or three rounds of editing from the selection I actually process after a shoot – so it’s by no means a dumping ground. But even so, I’ve got over 1000 pictures up there from last year, albeit including a few weddings.
That little warning bell went off in my head when I realised that. I know there are plenty people who still shoot film because it actually does, through expense or process, limit the amount you shoot and therefore make you slow down and think about it more. Some people who shoot digital even limit themselves to a certain amount of shots for the same reason. But any time people have been talking about that, it seems to have been more about the process side of things.
What I’m thinking about here is the mountain of images we end up with, and how much we actually learn when we’re not spending a whole lot of time looking at each individual one for very much time at all. It’s all very well taking advantage of the tight feedback loop you can get with digital photography, but when you’ve shot enough to master the technicalities, should you be looking a bit harder at what you’ve done, rather than just shooting more and more?
What do you do with the majority of your images? Do you print any? How do you choose which to print? What do you do with them once they are on paper? How does that affect what you then shoot afterwards? Is paper the ultimate destination for an image, or is that mostly just a belief carried over from darkroom based photography? That’s a whole other post, so I won’t head down that road just yet…
I don’t think I’m done digging here.