Camera Position 31 : Editing as Creative Process

How many images does it take to say what you want to say? Editing your work to create a group of images that projects a coherent voice is an important part of the photographic process. Honest and unmerciful editors have the most effective stories.

First Contact Sheet EditContact Sheet Edit 2

Contact Sheet 3 - Final Edit

Leave-Behind package

Santa Fe Center for Photography – home of the Creative Edge workshop

Info about my gallery talk at Waubonsee Community College on September 19

4 thoughts on “Camera Position 31 : Editing as Creative Process”

  1. Hi there,

    I just discovered your podcast via PCN and a link from

    The shows are great. Keep it up! I’m on flickr and have sort of had my interest in photography explode in the past year. The podcasts I’ve found have been very good. I’m grateful to the postcast network, and the ease of finding and listening to your shows.

    Cheers, -Jon

  2. I’m working my way through your podcasts and just finished listening to this episode regarding editing. Thanks so much for sharing this process. I think this particular aspect of presenting yourself and your work as a photographer, artist, or creator is quite challenging and very personal.

    Obviously, since you’re putting yourself out there and telling others, “This is what I do and I’m proud of it” can involve a fair amount of self-analysis, honesty, and objectivity. In a strange way, I think you have to attempt to “see” your own work (which you know intimately) as others will view it, with just a few moments gazing at each image. I find it’s not easy to look at work you’ve produced over the course of time in this manner.

    This topic is absolutely timely for me. I’ve been asked to mount my first solo exhibition and am having a Dickens of a time deciding what to show and how to show it. So far, I’ve narrowed my selections down to four sets of 25 images. I need to decide upon the right theme and narrow my choices down as you’ve shown here.

    I’m presently going to make some decisions about the overarching focus then proceed with the hard cuts that must be made. Then I’ll take your suggestion and print out small versions of the final choices.

    One question arose when viewing the podcast with the contact sheet samples with respect to orientation. I’m wondering if you find yourself having a preference for vertical or horizontal images in your work. Do you think it relates moreso to the subject matter? To your camera equipment? To your own personal bias? Is this a topic you’ve addressed in Camera Position or in your teaching?

    I’m enjoying the podcasts. Keep up the good work.

    ~ Andrew Raimist

  3. Andrew;

    Thank you for your post and your thoughtful comments. I really appreciate that you’re listening.

    It’s interesting that you ask the question about vertical/horizontal (or, as the computer has taught us to say, “portrait” or “landscape”) orientation. I’ve long had a “problem” (or at least that’s what I call it) with shooting vertical images. I suppose it has at least something to do with the type of subjects I’m drawn to… it’s a lot easier to shoot a vertical photograph of a column than it is to make a horizontal one, but I think it has something to do with how my mind works.

    Though I’ve never used a true panoramic camera, if I had one in my hands, my first thought would be to turn it on its side and make a vertical pano. I just like vertical photographs. I guess it’s a good thing that I ended up in still photography rather than in film making or video where the picture orientation can’t be altered… in my films, we’d all wind up looking like we were in the old Batman TV show and he was climbing the building.

    Working with a view camera, it’s pretty easy to switch the camera’s back from vertical to horizontal, so it’s not the tool getting in my way… it’s just me. I even have a little sign fixed up inside my camera bag that says “look for horizontals” just to remind me.

    One good thing about having a lot of vertical photographs is that I can fit more on the gallery wall!


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