How to improve your photography with fire…

But first…
Dulltown, Europe: Today’s honoured guests are the King Henry VIII lookalike twins Bob and Terry. Come on up and sit on your thrones Your Majesties, we’ll have a nice chat…
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P2280062Here’s a picture, a scanned 35mm negative, from my days of old-style black and white film and darkroom photography; this is from the end of that period, probably around 2002.
As you see I have given this piece the title How to Improve Your Photography, and no, I’m not being deliberately obtuse.
You can apply this useful technique to any art form, painting, sculpture, recorded music, song writing, film making, oh, and especially writing. Yes, the idea is – every now and again, have a good look at your body of work… and burn (erase, wipe, throw away, delete, or flush down the toilet) all the bad stuff!
As time passes we all seem to get a bit better at our art, and we acquire a more mature perspective on things; we look back at all the stuff we created in the past and think, Did I really do this? It’s wonderful!… or… Oh dear, how embarrassing! Goodness me, did I really think that was a good idea?…
It’s all part of the great creative process. I find that artists who avoid being self-critical are usually not very good artists.
Yes, I found that I had accumulated several boxes of 10″ x 8″ photos that I had printed over the years; even if the work isn’t that marvellous one is very reluctant to chuck it away, after faffing around in the darkroom for all those hours, using up expensive photographic paper and chemicals, but later on you realise that all that time you spent producing these poor things wasn’t really wasted, but was a valuable learning experience.
So, I decided to look through my work and separate the pictures into three piles, the good, the bad, and the iffy…
You see, after the ruthless burning you find that the ‘average quality’ of your existing portfolio has been raised dramatically! Of course some pictures which don’t have much artistic merit may have a sentimental value, you must keep those: that girlfriend who dumped you in 1984, Uncle Rufus and Auntie Joan playing whist with the vicar, that funny haircut you had in 1986, Monty the dog you had back in… er… when was Monty around?… Oh that Monty, he was a little bastard!…

About Dave Whatt

Grumpy old surrealist artist, musician, postcard maker, bluesman, theatre set designer, and debonair man-about-town. My favourite tools are the plectrum and the pencil...
This entry was posted in art, brain, Film, history, humour, information, learning, photography, surrealism, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How to improve your photography with fire…

  1. Yes, time I did this – it’s a slightly shocking shot – I like it a lot.

    • Dave Whatt says:

      Yes, it feels very strange doing that… but you do feel better afterwards…
      Ah, but back then it was seeing boxes of old prints kicking around the place – now you can store tons of digital stuff without ever noticing that you even have it… so you probably needn’t bother.
      Although I might go on Flickr and delete a few of my duff ones there…
      Thanks RG!

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