letting go of photographs (bet you’re afraid)
Henri-Cartier Bresson said: “Your first 10, 000 photographs are your worst”. Just like anything in life, if you want to be good at something, you need to periodically evaluate yourself with constructive criticism, identify what needs to be worked on and never be fully satisfied. Photographers, wether aspiring ones or well-established professionals, continuously improve their own selves and still learn a thing or two about photography every once in a while.
I’ve been busy de-cluttering my website from all the bad photos. I had some photos on there that were embarrassing yet that I insisted on keeping because they signified something to me – a personal memory or a fleeting, lovely moment. Even if the quality was bad (read: noisy) or the focus was totally off or the composition could use some improvement, I insisted that it was artsy* and: “Who cares anyway”, I insisted, “it’s my website and I can put what I want on it!”
Well, eventually you start caring more about what you put out there. And since you are continuously shooting, you should actually be continuously improving right? If you’re not increasing, you’re decreasing.
I’ve reached that point where I simply had to take down some photos from my website. Sure, I have tons of photos from my awesome European backpacking days from…SIX YEARS AGO. Composition, not bad. I had the eye from a young age. The image quality? Just lol.
I realized photo-clutter is just like wardrobe-clutter: it is better to keep the silks, the cashmeres, the well-cut clothes that flatter you and let go of the worn or cheaper clothes – even if you spent the best times of your life in them. You had your time with them and now you’ve moved on to new things. It’s time to start something new and trust the magic of that.
In my post on How to Seduce an Artistic Director, Christopher Dormov suggested to have an online portfolio “avec un design simple et épuré”. The French word “épuré doesn’t mean pure, it means to purify. Which is what I’ve been doing lately, by converting to a white space, letting go of bad photos and adding new ones that I am proud of.
I hope you enjoy the new website and would also like to take the moment to invite you to subscribe to this blog if you’ve been reading it and liking its content. I do not post every day and don’t do spam :-)
So the take-away message is: aim for higher, better pictures and don’t get caught up in photo-clutter. I now know what I need to practice and work on. Thank you Yannick Khong for that interesting conversation and motivational push.
* if only YOU know what the photograph is, then it’s probably a good idea to keep it to yourself and off your website.