Early Riser - praise for an honest photographer
Somewhere, in that incredibly long and convoluted thread about the price of photographic prints, Early Riser describes the grind he goes through professionally for several months of the year. Then he sort of casually throws in that in a good year he may get 8 usable images (out of hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of shots). Anyone who admits that is a REAL photographer, in my book. (Some years I don't get any! Last year, 2005, I only had ONE real keeper, and a dozen "not bads.")
Christopher Burkett says that he only has 250 images from a life time of shooting - he is mid-50s I believe.
AA could pull 12 good photos a year, he used to say.
Using film since before it was hip.
"One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal
, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11
My APUG Portfolio
I 2nd that emotion....
Originally Posted by Bill Mitchell
Often wrong, but never in doubt!
I hear ya!
Funny thing is, the ones that don't make the grade this year were probably keepers a few years ago. There are prescious few images of mine from the early days that can comfortably hang beside my later work.
Note to self: Turn your negatives into positives.
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Last year, I think I got 3 images that I'm very happy with, and probably about 6-7 that I like. I have no idea how many sheets I burned last year, but it was probably close to 200.
That's about a 2% success rate overall.
Murray, you're right - as time goes by, the level of expectation continually goes up. That certainly makes it harder to get those keepers, that's for sure.
My problem is just the opposite. I find it very difficult to do work today (at 70) even approaching my best images made in my 40s and 50s.
Originally Posted by MurrayMinchin
Incidentally, when I originally posted this thread I hadn't looked at Early Riser's web site. Now I have, and his images are exquisite!
When I did my "Fifty Project" I finished my introduction with this, "After assembling this selection of photographs, the answer to the question “How rare is a good photograph?” finally came to me. I look back on the work included for this collection of images, and cumulatively, they account for no more than ten seconds exposed film over the thirty years. Good photographs are that rare."
Bill, thanks for the kind words. I was concerned when I made my comments that it might come across as my complaining about, or seeking sympathy about shooting landscape as one's profession. Every career has it's issues and difficulties, however when I switched my area of photography to landscape I was not prepared for what would be required of me. I thought it would be helpful if I tried to give some insight to what one goes through when one pursues art photography, especially landscape, as a profession.
Robert, I'm represented by some of the same galleries as Burkett and was told by one of the gallery owners that Burkett shoots 2 months a year and spends 10 months a year in the darkroom. When I first heard this I couldn't understand how so much time could be spent in the darkroom versus shooting. Now I understand. Supplying multiple sized prints to multiple galleries takes a huge amount of time. And ultimately what a fine art photographer produces, what the actual commodity (for lack of a better term) is, is a print.
Murray, I empathize with your comment that your standards for your own work have gotten higher. I expect a lot more from my work now. When i was far less traveled just the sight of a mountain with a snow cap amazed me. Now unless there are significant contributing factors like great light or atmospherics, I won't even slow down the car, let alone pull out a camera. I guess this means I'm choosier, however I wonder if I'm also getting jaded.
Christopher told me the same thing last year. I got the opportunity to tour his workshop, his wife led the tour, and I've got an autographed copy of his book "Intimations of Paradise". I've been told that he has a very serious eye disease, which is one of the reasons he is printing so much.
Originally Posted by Early Riser