Monday, January 5, 2015

Quality vs. Quantity



I'm going to start with a question.  What is more important, quality of work or quantity of work?  What I mean by this is what if you took a week long trip and only got one portfolio quality image?  Would the trip be a failure or a success?  The answer to this question of course depends of your point of view.

Sitting on this side of the computer I have a front row seat to the internet just like you.  Now you can look at websites like 500px and generally you will see examples of stunning work from a variety of photographers.  Or if you go over to Flickr you might see someone post dozens or even hundreds of pictures from a particular trip or event.  There is no right answer to this question, its like many things in life, a matter of opinion.

As I finish my 2nd decade as a photographer, with a 20 year break between decades,  I find that I value quality.  In my mind this is the only possible choice.  When you go to a gallery or art show you see a few pieces from a particular artist at best.  Artists have always been forced to be selective when it comes to showing their work. But with the advent of the internet and nearly unlimited online storage, it takes us back to the days of sitting in front of a slide projector as your neighbor shows you 200 shots from their vacation.  Did you fall asleep before the show was over?  You have to be older than 40 to appreciate comparison.

It's not my intent to be critical of others in this space but let's think a minute.  If you post 100 pictures from a particular place or event, how many people will loose interest before looking at all of your images?  Or how many will judge your ability as a photographer not by your best image, but by your worst?  The fact is we all take lousy images.  I could show you thousands, but then you would not be inclined to return to my blog.   I think it helps if you can develop the ability to be your toughest critic.  That does not mean that you should not show your images and have pride in your work.  You should!  I think the art of photography is a journey and not a destination.  Personally I hope to be a better photographer as time progresses.  Part of that process is being critical of my work and introperspective on how I can strive to improve.

In regard to the blog image above.  It was the only worthy image from a full a day of shooting motion abstracts.   The rest were just not that good.  But my happiness with the one image far overpowers any possible disappointment with the hundreds I had taken that day that no one else will ever see.
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