One of my habits (bad) is to download images to my computer, make a quick run through to see if I’ve suddenly become world famous, and then forget about them for a while. Sometimes that “while” becomes years.
Such was the case recently when, looking for an example of a “busy” photograph for a talk I was giving, I examined a photo made years ago in a book store in Antalya, Turkey. (Actually, it wasn’t exactly “in” the store because I shot the scene from the street through an open doorway.) To my great surprise I discovered a man seemingly buried beyond the bookcases – reading, of course. I cropped the image to put him in an important position and now the photo takes on a whole new meaning.
Another practice I have is to shoot everything in RAW format. This gives me the opportunity to attempt great things with the photos in post processing but it eats up an incredible amount of storage space. Each shot can easily be 40 MB! So, for purely practical purposes I may plunder through old series with the aim of deleting some of the not-so-good images. At soccer games of my grand children I usually make a few shots before the game just to get the feel of the lighting, etc. It was those warm-up photos that I was intending to delete. But hidden in there was my nine year old grand daughter putting on her goalie gloves and practicing her game face. It captures her determination and I am forever glad I didn’t blindly hit the delete button.
Here’s another that almost made the trash pile. The straight, stark lines of the columns in a monastery in Portugal caught my eye and I fired off several shots. The girl’s leg is the only diagonal in the image and I should have seen it in the viewfinder but it was actually only in the culling process that her contribution to the composition became evident. A ho-hum photo now has a point of interest and a little mystery about it.
I’m not one of those who believes that every image made should be an image kept. Even though computer memory is very cheap now, that isn’t the point. Storing useless images is a lot like saving old newspapers. But, on the other hand, don’t get too heavy handed in the culling process. You never know what you might find. And once gone…well, they’re gone.