The dilemma of culling (photos)

by Sutha Siva August. 22, 2020 160 views

Over the last few years, have taken to producing photo books as a means of having photographs accessible. With photographs, being in the digital medium, unless you make an effort to switch on the computer to browse photographs, hardly do you ever look at them. Looking at photographs on a computer is rather unsociable (personal view).

Having produced a few books, mostly of trips, end up with so many photos to have in a book. On one occasion, produced a book of a week's trip to Tanzania. There were so many photos (after culling) that the end result was two books, each book 100+ pages! 

Oh, why is culling so difficult?

Oh, why is culling so difficult?

Oh, why is culling so difficult? Apart from the pictures which are clear rejects, every other photo seems important for a variety of reason: the light, the angle, the vista, the memory, the moment, the pose, the colours...............

It became very apparent the dilemma was a result of lack of clarity. Two questions I would always ask at work, which I should have been asking myself when producing each and every photo-book:

i) Who is the customer? (who is the book for?)

ii) What is the purpose? (why produce the book?)

Customer - In my case, the customer(s) are just two, myself and my better half. Targetting anyone else would be the equivalent of having to sit through the good old days of family holiday photos or slide shows! Just couldn't put anyone else through it.

Purpose - It took a lot of thought to understand why I wanted to produce the photo-books. At first, it seemed obvious, to have the photos accessible. It wasn't that, it is in this order:

i) creating something, the creative process - the primary purpose for me was producing the book, working out a style for it, the look, the colour theme, the fonts, identifying the photos that fit with the style of the book......

ii) bringing out what I saw when I took the picture - with every picture I take, there is something that I want to capture and I want to capture in a particular way. The picture out of the camera is seldom that, hence every picture out of the camera needs work to bring out the moment that I in my mind captured. Be it in a darkroom or on a computer, it's that process, that I enjoy.......

iii) memories - to spark memories rather than present back every memory and moment. A prompt, a conversation starter.........

Perhaps now, I won't feel guilty about leaving photos out...........

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