Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Best of 2008

Being that time of year, it might be a worthwhile exercise to go through the images you made this year and pick out your best. I decided on 12 but it could be any number between 5 and 20. These should be the images you like best, not the ones you think will impress others or win contests or get published - simply the set of images you like most from the year's work. Although I am going to share mine, you certainly don't need to do so - simply making up a collection of your best of the year for yourself is just fine.

Having made the collection though, it would be a shame not to take advantage of the experience to learn and to move onwards.

1) what makes these images better than the others - is it better composition or a more interesting subject, technical matters or artistic?

2) is there a pattern to the images we have selected - in style, colour vs. monochrome, focal length, subject matter? If like a lot of hobbyist photographers you shoot a little of this, a tad of that - perhaps one or more of these images points to a possible project - something that interests you and that can be explored in depth?

3) how much do you really like these images - can you imagine still liking them 10 years down the road? If despite selecting your best they don't satisfy - can you figure out why - perhaps comparing them to some images of others that you particularly admire and spending some time analyzing the differences between yours and theirs.

Is it because they got up earlier and hiked harder, or waited for unique weather or were more observant, luckier or whatever - there's things to be learned here.

I'm not all that excited by my year in photography. I haven't been hiking as much, writing the second book has been distracting, it's been a stressful and distracting year all around, but I have put together the 12 best images of my year and you can see them here.

I note that 7 are black and white, 5 colour, though a couple of the black and white I also like in colour so there doesn't seem to be a pattern there.

There's only one landscape in the 12 reflecting my recent enthusiasm with industrial subjects. Sure my arthritis has limited my hiking but I could have worked within city parks so I don't think that's the answer.

There's only one person picture but shooting people is very new - who knows where that may lead.

There's certainly a hodge podge of images, from architectural to still life, portrait to grand landscape, quite abstract to very literal. When I look at the work of Michael Levin and admire his elegant clean simple and unified images I wonder what that says about me and me eclectic selection. Should I be settling down into either monochrome or colour and one style, and at most a few subjects, or does it really matter. I don't know the answer to this though have a nagging feeling I should be more consistent - but would that be to please someone else or myself? All very complicated.

Anyway, that's my year in images. See how you make out and what you can learn from the images you select.


Fraser said...

Steps4 is outstanding

Dave Thomas said...

I've done the evaluation and was a little surprised at how few images meeting my standards I've produced this past year. However, the exercise nudged me to finally reading TYPNL. Lots of good ideas there so let's do the exercise again next year.


Stacey Huston said...

Great Idea, I will have to do this.Something to keep in mind, is one of my photos that everyone else raves about, is NOT one of my favorite. I guess they see something different in it than I do.. I am not happy with the color or lighting, but it seems to be a favorite to everyone else.. I am no expert and this is just my 2 cents about your selection. they are all fantastic photos, and very random subject matter, but the one thing that jumped out to me that they all have in common is that they all share a simple and natural feel to them..now my head hurts..lol guess that is what I get for trying to analyze... thanks for sharing, now I am off to find the favorites of my own..