Photos in Time

My old photos don't change. Just very occasionally I might re-edit, dismayed at my previously clumsy attempts or failure to miss some feature that I might emphasize, or because I've switched software. But generally they don't change. The way I see them changes all the time though, the way I see them, what they mean to me from an artistic or creative perspective, from love to hate (not always that extreme, but occasionally) and everything in between.

It usually goes something like this: 1. During the shoot: This could be good. That seemed to work well. 2. Immediately after the shoot: Did I get that right? Maybe it's all shit. Did I forget to... (insert random technical setting). 3. First viewing: Actually these do have potential. 4. Starting to edit: This one I thought was great, isn't, damn. This other one could be ok though. 5. Review by a friend: Ok, yes, more work needed, and I could drop one or two. 6. Final edit: These might be some of my best images. Consider them for the portfolio. 7. A month later: Yeah, they were ok but I could do better. 8. A year later: Why didn't I notice this other image (that didn't make the final selection at the time) before?

Is this normal? I suspect it is. Surely it's part of the struggle, of self-doubt, of trying to be creative, of making something personal and subjective.

The photos haven't changed but I have. Hopefully progressing as a photographer but also as a person. In views and understanding and knowledge and experience. The photos are no better or worse, but maybe I need to say something different now.


(The photos that don't change much in my eyes are the memories, the family shots, my wife, my daughter. The precious images that capture a moment, not necessarily a moment that seems special at the time, but becomes special as the photograph gives me the chance to dwell on it. The image becomes the memory.)


My mother with an old friend, reliving memories and sharing photos.

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Headshot, portrait, street and documentary photographer in NYC and Jersey City

alastair.arthur@gmail.com

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