This wasn't the case when I made my own black-and-white prints. Because there was a significant time that had to be invested into each print (sometimes hours--the longest was 12 hours for one print), that it was easy to skip all of the frames except for the very best. There was also a real cost--photographic paper wasn't exactly cheap. You didn't want to spend time and money on something that wasn't good.
It's not that my photography was better then, because it most certainly was not. I was simply better at self-editing. I was better at letting go of the lesser images.
|Peerless - Newberry Springs, California|
Since the time and financial investment is tiny (once the initial investment is made), those motivations to skip lesser images are gone. So I find myself editing mediocre photographs.
Why? I put time and thought into capturing photographs. I think there is a connection to the frames, and it is tough to see that wasted. It is tough to think that the frame was a failure, and part of that is the idea that I failed as a photographer.
|Copy Machine - Mojave, California|
There are consequences to this, however. First, there are people who only see my mediocre photographs. Either here on the Roesch Photography Blog or on social media (such as Flickr), some people will never see my best work. And when they think of me as a photographer, they think of those so-so images that I just couldn't let go of. Second, even though the time invested in post-processing a lesser photograph is small, over time five minutes here and five minutes there adds up to hours and hours. Eventually I've wasted a whole bunch of time editing a bunch of images that were just not that good. Time is important to me, and I hate to throw it away on throwaway photographs.
|The Sound of Silence - Mojave, California|
I have found that the longer I wait to post-process photographs after they've been captured, the easier it is for me to let go of them. I delete far more exposures when it has been a few weeks since they were captured compared to when I post-process right away. Time seems to give clarity and also seems to weaken the connection. So I'm making an effort to wait at least a couple of weeks before I edit.
Another thing that I just started to do is, as I consider if a frame is worth keeping, I ask myself if the image is one that I want people to remember me by. Perhaps it will be the only photograph of mine that someone will ever see. This helps me to delete some lesser images that I might otherwise have kept.
The less time that I waste post-processing photographs that are not good, the more time I have to do other (more important) things. This may be spending time with family, doing other projects, or out capturing photographs. The fewer mediocre images that I show, the better the chances are that my better photographs will be seen.