Day 36: Life Requires An Editorial Process

ed·it/╦łedit/  Verb - To correct, condense, arrange or otherwise modify for use


I've been looking through a lot of photographers' work recently, (one facebook click leads you to another one, which leads you to another one, which leads you to another one . . . you know how it happens!)


I've been looking through a lot of photographers' work recently, and I have discovered something important. What separates the good photographers from the great ones is their ability to edit. So many have incredibly good photographs, but their ability to edit is so poor that it almost ruins the photo altogether.

The point of a great photograph (in my non-professional photographic opinion) should be that it draws us into the moment.  It creates in us an ability to become a part of the moment.  The sights, the sounds, the scents, the emotions.  We, the observers, become accutely focused on what is important, central, the POINT of the photograph, so much so that it is as if we were behind the lens ourselves.

However in the poorly edited photographs, I observed the following three commonalities:

Photographs are often overblurred which seems forced and makes what should be the focal point of the photo a crisp and clear afterthought.  The eye is drawn more to what is blurred than what is left in focus.

Photographers "brands" sometimes become so distracting that I am left wondering if they or their subjects are the point of the photo.

Sometimes photos are so "creative" that it's hard to determine exactly what the photographer is saying at all. Creativity for creativity's sake is not creative.  It's almost the opposite of creative.  Often, incredibly beautiful moments are stolen by the need to make it "special."  Sometimes the moment is special all on its own.

(There are MANY more observations I could make, but these seemed the most glaring!)

I believe these observations about photography apply to life in general.

The ability to blur the unimportant things in life is critical.  But far too often I become so obsessed with the things I am trying to ignore, that I lose sight of the things that are the most important.

Just like a photographer's brand, when I, Me, Mine, becomes more important than anything else, I lose sight of pretty much everything else.

And lastly, incredibly beautiful moments are often stolen or ruined altogether by my need to try to make them special.  Sometimes the moments are, indeed, special all on their own.  The more I manipulate, adjust, worry over the moment, the less special it becomes.

Our ability to edit is key to turning good moments into great ones.  We must be able to ignore what isn't important, to keep our pride in check, and sometimes to just breathe in the moments of life that are breathtakenly beautiful on their own.

All that to say, life, like photography, requires an editorial process.  Just edit with caution.

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