To Share or Not to Share by Eric Bennett

Excerpt from the Article:

At one point during his career, the late film photographer Jerry Uelsmann gave a slide presentation to a large audience of photography students, showing all the photographs he had made that year. Of the one hundred or so photographs that he presented, he said that only ten of them would be printed and exhibited; the rest would never see the light of day. In an interview, he said, “… at the end of the year, I try to find ten images I like. And I make almost one hundred different ones a year.”

Another photography legend, Ansel Adams, is known for saying, “Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.” Many photographers use this in their defense for not releasing as much work as others, but I don’t think that is the point Adams was trying to make. While I believe there is no “right” number of photographs we should release each year, I think that if Adams were alive today, working with digital cameras and modern software (and more efficient means of travel), he would surely create more than just a dozen portfolio images per year.

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Followed a link from the magazine and having this topic already carved out is a really nice touch.

So this struck me, Eric - “Don’t let the excitement of finding a certain subject cloud your judgment about the actual photograph you have made of it.”

I found it to be quite true and it reminds me of something bird photographer, Scott Keyes, said about the difference between taking pictures of birds like a birder and like a photographer. A photographer waits and times most of her frames for the optimal photo, not just one to show she saw the bird.

So true and I find it’s the same with other subjects as well. As we get more familiar with them and encounter similar situations, our once prized photos can morph to mundane and downright bad as we grow in expertise. Sometimes its our approach that changes and of course as our idea of what our photos should be shifts, often older images don’t align anymore and should come off our favorites list. As I’m not a portfolio-based photographer, that’s how I frame this kind of movement.

Every year I do choose my favorites and the number ranges from 12 to 18 or so depending. Emotions do cloud my judgement sometimes, but I try not to let them and include only what I feel is a technical and artistic achievement that has helped me grow as a photographer. When I do my annual blog post about them, I have to back it up with why. Some years are easy and some are hard, but the process is always worth the effort.

So anyway…thanks for reinforcing that concept and practice.