I shoot faster than I edit. I’m sorry.
Since mid-2007 I’ve been using my camera to capture a lot of things. Mostly people. Mostly people who to me, are nothing less than pure amazing. Mostly people who never got a payment for their part of posing for my camera.
Some of these photos were published in magazines or books. Some appeared in exhibitions around the world.
Some of them brought in some money that allowed me to pay whoever it was that I photographed.
A lot of these pictures, however, never seen the light of day – or more precisely – still await to be selected and edited on my hard drive.
The fact that most of these people never got a payment, leaves me obliged to basically give them the photos ASAP. They did their part, I need to do mine.
With digital photography comes the tiring editing part. I learned that the way I shoot, is a very impulsive-improvised sort of process; I don’t plan shoots to small details. I say “I want to shoot you, wearing this, standing in this room” and I will shoot 600 pictures moving around, moving the person around, changing the light, changing the lens …eventually without even remembering some of the photos I took, I will select the ones I like on my editing software. During the shoot, I try to let the pictures take themselves. I end up in weird positions, weird compositions – but I try to let it go and flow. The composition is created in 2 parts. It’s not really the photoshoot. It’s the photoshoot + editing or shall I say the selection.
From the (at least) hundreds of thousands of photos I took, I’ve never taken a single photo just to keep it for myself. Everything I do is aimed at being published, exhibited, put in a book one day and so on.
BUT I have realized long time ago that I have a problem with my work flow. That problem is simply the fact that I can shoot faster than I edit.
Being a freelance photographer who is not making his living by selling fine art prints (just yet) – I have to do a lot of other jobs. Some are super interesting and the photos I produce end up in my portfolio, publications and exhibitions. Some are done purely for the money and will never appear on any of my sites and none of you will ever know I’ve taken them.
This puts me in a situation where I HAVE to prioritize my work flow to deal with the paid work first and all personal work is being put aside, postponed until I’m free with the energy to sift through it all.
When I’m doing about 2 paid jobs and 2-3 personal shoots a week, each job / shoot containing 200-1500 images, about 1-2 hours to go through each shoot, mark all ‘worthwhile’ images and delete all the crappy ones, another 2-3 hours to narrow the images to the best 5-20 images and then edit them … I end up getting A LOT of personal work left behind.
I have shoots I’ve done in 2007 (this is 2013 now) I haven’t even looked at yet.
The people I photograph often ask me what’s going on with the pictures. I get some people ending up sort of hating me, they stop talking to me. I get it. I wish things would be different. I wish I could edit everything faster.
Perhaps in the future my career as a fine art photographer will flourish and I will be able to just concentrate on these shoots instead of having other obligations (various commissions) I need to handle first.
I should emphasize again that ALL the pictures I take, as a part of my personal work especially, are pictures I take because I am passionate about them in one way or another. I intend to publish them in whatever platform I can. Even if it was 5 or 6 years ago, I plan to publish them at some point.
I don’t even know why I take pictures. It just feels right. I’m very intuitive, I don’t ask questions – when my gut feeling tells me “YOU MUST PHOTOGRAPH THIS PERSON” – I obey.
It’s an obsession. A disease. It’s my fetish and I’m addicted to it. But I don’t ask questions. I do it. I find a way to get that person’s trust and pose for my camera. I just know it’s right. The picture has to be made, and one day, it will justify its existence, somehow.
I guess I’m not the only photographer with this problem, but I’ve been meaning to write this post for a long time.
This post is written for anyone I’ve photographed before and yet to see the photos; I’d like to say I’m sorry. I REALLY am sorry.
I hope you understand.