Taking less photographs….

Taking less photographs equals better images.

Something that has crept up on me over the 3 and a bit years of practicing photography, is that I am taking less photographs which is creating better images, more keepers.

Even with “Street” photography where you need to react quickly to capture the “moment”, being more choosey in what you snap delivers a portfolio of images you enjoy more.

Recently I looked though my 3 folders full of 35mm and 120 negatives to see which shots I want to put in my first true portfolio over on my other site davecarrera.com and was shocked at how many shots on film I had taken, with good intention, that really do not cut it.

The other day I went out for a local walk with my Hasselblad 500 c/m Black, a recent purchase, to test the light seal replacement I had done, but mainly to take just 1 shot of each subject I thought would look good as an image.

Many times on looking through the clear waist level finder, composing a shot, I took my finger off the shutter button, as it seemed to replicate the negatives I had thrown away due to either repetitiveness and or underwhelming subject matter.

Coming clean, I do not like taking pictures of people or having people in my shots and much prefer, like William Christenberry who’s work I relate to and unashamedly and inspired by, give focus and attention to the buildings, signs and places now featuring in my work.

As a side note my favorite photographers are

William Christenberry
Vivian Maier
William Eggleston

and with learning more about these greats in photography and happily and unashamedly admit my style is being nudge and influenced by the masters.

Now that my photographic eye is not cluttered with people and their objections to a lens pointing at them, my focus (sorry) is purely on the inanimate objects I see around me that might not be with us all our life times.

If they are, once we are gone, then my small record showing the passage of time has on them will be available for all to see if the are interested.

So how has taking less photographs improved your images Dave?

Take my walk about yesterday, I spotted more than 50 subjects that I thought initially would make a good image, a good image being that of a subject that captures your interest, so much so that image sharpness & grain is of little concern, but only 12 made it onto the HP5+ 120 film I had loaded for the walk.

Once I got home I developed the roll, the UK being in the range of low 20 degrees recently meant my bottle of D23 was sitting ready at 20 degrees so no need for warming it up, and after drying the roll in my heated dryer thing, I looked at each individual image with happiness and pleasure.

12 well shot subjects proudly looked back at me, rewarding me on my judgment and self control.

Note: I fixed the light seal in the A12 back and the first 10 images looked cool and leak free but shots 11 and 12 had an edge leak, thankfully not on the images, but a staggered black line on the border. More tlc is need after I double check with another roll.

Here is a quick rough scan of the negatives still in their vinyl sleeve, a digital contact sheet as it were, to show the light leak and the negatives in their raw state. You can see the edge leak on the top right of the contact sheet and I have been told these is probably down to not having the film rolled up tight enough and in a light area.

And here are all 12 images after light editing.

Just because I mainly work in film and am restricted by the amount of images per roll I can shoot, does not mean you can not limit yourself via your Digital camera to taking one thought out shot for each subject you encounter on your walks.

Imagine the joy of not having to route through 100’s if not 1000’s of same old same old images to find “the one” you should of took in the first place.

The works and mindsets of both William Christenberry and William Eggleston have really hit home with me about my path in photography and what it is I like about it.

Removing the complication of people from my work and making stars of the things we tend to ignore throughout our busy days, is for me an inspiration going forward.

Give doing less a go and see if you see an improvement in the keepers for your portfolio too.


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