A Fresh Eye
I usually spend as much time as possible taking photographs and as little time as possible going back over them after an initial edit. Once in a while though it is interesting to back over the old stuff and see if there is anything that has been missed or possibilities for improvement. It is also a way to keep tabs on just how much our aesthetic preferences and values can change over time. On occasions I feel as if my photography is static, that it is not advancing or more importantly my eye is not maturing. A quick look over the back catalog soon puts these fears to rest as, if anything, the opposite seems to be the case. Even over a short period, say a couple of months, there is a definite improvement even though the process of taking the pictures doesn’t feel any different.
The thing that stands out when I look back is the drive towards simplicity. Even with complex subject matter I am looking for the simplest shot and, over time, my photographs show this. The really interesting thing is that this process started long before I became consciously aware of it. To be honest I wonder if being aware of it will break it or if it will facilitate it.
One thing that happened as a part of this simplification process is a movement away from vivid color towards the purely tonal black and white. For as long as I can remember I have liked black and white but now I think that I know why I like it and that makes a big difference.
These two images illustrate this thought pretty well. The first is a shot that I took while testing some macro attachments a couple of months back to see how they handled backgrounds. I always thought that this image was OK but the background is very different from the smooth indistinct blur that I get without the macro attachments.
Earlier today I was going over my images from the last few months and I decided to see if I could do anything with it. The result is the second image which is the first image rotated and cropped. Now I like this image a lot more, it is simple, no clutter and has a much more solid feel. The removal of most of the visual information has not diminished the image in any way.