Catoctin Ebook on the way

Over the past couple weeks I’ve been able to spend a little more time seriously compiling an ebook from all my Catoctin residency images. It is a pretty slow process for me, because I’m very interested in making reading it an insightful experience, not just a photo album. There is much more to it than just selecting the images (and that process alone takes a lot of debate and second-guessing).

This time around I pulled together all the images that I could potentially include and came up with 3 main categories for them to fit into. In this case, I found it was most straight-forward to divide them by primary subject matter: forest, stone and stream. Next I separate the images into those categories and begin to order them, specifically looking for good pairings of images that would make for an interesting spread. At this time I also experiment with different layouts of images on each page so that it feels balanced and leaves enough space.

Next on the agenda is final edits of images. All the photos have been processed so far, but most have not received that last little bit of attention that puts them over the top. So one by one I go through with fresh eyes and ask myself what could be improved or enhanced.

Finally, I get to the writing. Each category has a page of writing dedicated to it, explaining why those photos or that subject drew me, or maybe just sharing a story about some related experience. The intent is to give a bit of a window into how I think about the images to come. Also, depending on the image, I may add some specific details on individual pages.

Then of course come proof-reading and some final tweaks before it’s ready to make public.

Screen Shot 2017-07-15 at 6.53.40 PM

But in all honesty, I like the process. I wish I could devote more time to it than I am able to with life, work and family,  but the process itself is very beneficial to me. It helps me really think about the photos I took and what my experience was really about. It also allows me to spend a lot of time with my images which allows me to narrow down the ones I will fully develop and print.

So, I would say I’m about half way done right now, but I hope to be able to devote a little more time to it over the next week or so, so I feel like I’m about 2 weeks from completing it. And soon after I’ll be able to finish my prints and make them available through my Crated site.

Below are just a few screen shots of some spreads in process. I look forward to letting you see the full book.

“Much More Muchier”

Sunset at Schoodic Point

Sunset at Schoodic Point

Believe it or not, I am beginning to see the process of image editing as much more of a creation process than post-production one. I’m not sure if this is because I am growing into a more substantial vision for how I want my final images to look or because I am beginning to feel more comfort with significantly shaping my images after the shutter has been clicked. Either way, this perspective of editing as image-making has cause my editing process to be much more enjoyable. It is real “studio time” as opposed to a necessary evil of photography.

However, the one drawback of this is that my editing time has definitely increased. Instead of editing within the bounds of my original intent, now I find myself increasingly asking, “how far can this image be pushed”? Pushed to what end? I’m not always sure, but sometimes it is to be “much more muchier”.

This shift has also had me begin revisiting my artist statement. Exciting, right? Ok, all sarcastic remarks aside, it is something that I’ve been wrestling with internally over the last couple years. It seems as soon as I finally finish a good artist statement, it has taken just long enough to craft it that it no longer really applies or feels authentic. As a result, my statement has remained static (and pretty much not true) for the past few years.

But as I said, this shift in image editing philosophy feeds well into a revamped artist statement. Specifically, when I am making work (especially traditionally representational “landscape” type work) I want to push beyond perception. What does that mean? Eh…, I’m still working out the details and how that applies across all work I make, but certain parts of it I really like so far. Hopefully more on this to come.

So this all begs the questions, “Does everyone view image editing this way? Am I just behind the curve as a photography traditionalist?”