The printing of the photographs is finally complete. I can now look at these and see if there is any sense to be made of them. Or should I just go ahead and get a job in a shoe store?
Editing a photography book is like playing with LEGOS (TM – don’t want to get into trouble here!). All the pieces do fit together, but sometimes they make more sense one way than another. And so it is with 200+ photographs.
How to use, what to use. How to put them together. What does it mean? What do I want to say? Argggh!
Slowly, after sifting through them, some begin to stand out as definite keepers. Others are discarded quickly only to somehow find their way back in. And yet others quietly reveal themselves only as the shape of the book develops. These, on their own, may not seem like much until put into the company of others. Then they take on a new significance. The sum of the parts, etc.
But, there are still more than 200 of these and not all will make the cut. As I mentioned just a few lines back, there are obvious keepers. These stand out, I believe, as the strongest images in the lot. But they still beg the question: what order? It’s like setting a dinner table: knives here, forks there, spoons to the right, wine glasses over there. (Who set up those rules anyway?)
As I continue to look and arrange, and rearrange, and repeat this over and over again, it does start to take form and meaning. It would be one thing if there had been a shooting script and the photographs were taken in a chronological order. Yeah, it would be one thing, but it isn’t. So I have to engage in a kind of reverse engineering of this. Usually that results in the construction of something like a Yugo. Please, please don’t let that happen here!
Certain types of images are beginning to look like they belong with each other. As that occurs, the book slowly begins to take form and the elements within start to “write” the book. As that occurs, I realize its final direction. This does not mean the selection is complete, no, not by a long shot, but I can edit with a particular vision. This is good.
Yet, it will still undergo many permutations and combinations before I’m ready to submit it. And even then, it will probably be revised further. It’s a long process and I still won’t know if I put the forks on the correct side of the plate.