Your Camera Roll Contains a Masterpiece
Ever wonder how to deal with the photos on your phone? An article from my favorite photoblogger who now also writes for The New Yorker:
In the nineteen-eighties, I studied photography at the Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, not far from the White House. Students were poor and film was expensive. We were amazed, therefore, when a classmate interning at National Geographic told us that a photographer there had returned from an expedition with six hundred and fifty rolls of exposed film. At thirty-six frames per roll, that was 23,400 exposures. There was logic to this overproduction: it was the job of the Geographic’s picture editors to distill all those frames into an article that might include just fifteen or twenty shots, and the editors wanted a surfeit of options. To end up with a small number of visual motifs—cowboys in a bar, say, or branding irons in a fire—they needed to start with a larger number, and, for each motif, they didn’t want a few alternatives but hundreds.
Brute force is one way to get good photos. Another is control. After graduation, I worked for a D.C. photo studio. This was before Photoshop, so everything in our photographs had to be controlled. Once, we had to do an overhead shot, looking straight down, of two models, a man and a woman, on inflatable rafts, floating in a dazzlingly blue swimming pool, facing opposite directions but holding hands. It was overcast when we did our test shots, and we realized that our flash units couldn’t reach through the water with sufficient intensity. On the day of the shoot, we’d be dependent on the sun to illuminate the bottom of the pool. The boss fretted and stressed. All the expense, all the planning, only to have our success depend on acts of nature? It was almost more than a self-respecting control freak could stand.
The rest of this wonderful article is here: