© 2012 Brooks Jensen. All rights reserved.
Here's another of the roughly 400 images of these calligraphic abstracts from the painted walls of Fort Worden near Port Townsend, Washington. What a dilemma I'm having with this work! What does one do with 400 images in a given project?
The obvious answer would be to edit, edit, and edit more until there's a comfortable 80 to 100 that could fit in a book. Do I then simply toss out the remaining 300 — out to the garbage can, never to be seen by mortal eyes again? I'd easily do that if I felt the 300 remaining images were inferior, but the dilemma deepens when I realize that the 300 remaining images from this project may be better than the top 10 images from any number of my other projects!
I'd never heard anybody talk about this issue until I started bringing it up with a few of my photographic friends. Much to my surprise, it's a common problem. A photographer discovers some interesting point of view and gets to work only to find that the potential for the project is far greater than anything they've ever done in previous projects. Before long, boxes of prints start to stack up. In a rich vision, variations are irresistible. Imagine the possible variations presented to Bruce Barnbaum when he first started photographing in the slit canyons; or the amazing possibilities presented to Frederick Evans as he photographed the cathedrals of England; or Eugene Atgét photographing the streets of Paris; or Edward Weston and all those little Mexican tchotchkes. What do we do with all of these? It's a serious question for which I have not a single suggestion, let alone a definitive answer.
So, like so many photographers before me, I continue to do the work because I can't imagine not doing the work. The pile of prints continues to grow, the problem deepens, and so far my only response is to play ostrich and keep producing them in the hopes that something will occur to me somewhere in the undefined future. In some regards, it's polar opposite — having no idea what to photograph — is a much simpler and easier problem to solve.
And, by the way, this says nothing of the variations available in any given abstract when the possibilities are endless. I can't decide which I toss out between the above and this variation, let alone all the other compositions I've photographed there.
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