ImageMaker photography tip number 5
For many of us there is such a rush to new creation of images that we do not reconsider our old ones.
Especially for those shooting digital, but even for film users, there is a perpetual focus on our latest images. We may do a lot of work on an image but then put it away as we move on to the latest work. We may also shoot so much that an individual image gets dismissed in comparison to more obviously strong images, and left untouched.
The history of photography has shown some photographers who, rather than doing this, develop a lifelong relationship with an image. They come back to it time and time again, re-evaluating, re-considering and re-working an image. Over time, such an image relationship builds an interesting document in its own right, your changing view of photography, of life and of this particular image.
We all grow and change as an image maker. Our technical skills hopefully grow, whether in the darkroom or on the computer, as well as at the camera. Our sense of aesthetics change as we look at more work, expand our sense of what is possible and grow to accept new visual possibilities.
All the above means that re-evaluating previous work is a great idea. The best image you will ever take may be sitting in your archives. It pays, every so often, to re-evaluate old work, to take the time and effort to go look though your previous work, both in its raw state (film or RAW file) and in its interpretation (prints or Photoshop file) and see just where you can take some of these images today. If nothing else the process will show you just how far you have come and even whether you have moved away from a very promising approach.
Re-consideration and perhaps re-work of an image can be very enlightening.