Sunday, June 19, 2022

I just shredded a print.

 I just shredded a print that I made the other day.

I hate it when that happens.

I tried my best in the darkroom and it wasn’t enough.

An acquaintance had the privilege of attending the last workshop that was led by the great Ruth Bernhard – renowned both as a photographer and as a teacher.  Part of the workshop was, as usual, a review of the portfolio the student brought to the workshop.  He said that Ms. Bernhard went through the 20 or so prints making perceptive comments about each but came back several times to one print.  She asked him more and more penetrating questions about it and he grew more and more uncomfortable with his answers.

She finally said: “You like this print a lot, don’t you?”

yes

You really want it to work, don’t you?

yes

You know in your heart that is doesn’t, don’t you.”

Long pause – “yes

Editing your own work is the hardest bit of the entire creative process.  I knew in my heart that the print I shredded “didn’t work”.  I had printed it a couple of times earlier – it didn’t work then either but I didn’t shred it.  Instead I put it aside with the hope of trying again.  I liked it a lot.  I wanted it to work.  But it didn’t.  It was time to give up and press on.

That isn’t always the case.  Another print in my “try again” box did work this time. 

"Marche Rue Edgar Quinet, Paris 2014"


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