Time As A Factor Of Process


I think most of us attempt to shortcut the time factor when making photographs one way or another. Of course that can be a conscious effort to improve productivity. In many cases that can be worthwhile — especially when taking commercial considerations into account. How can we make the pictures we need or want to make faster and faster?

There are a thousand arguments that support faster is better but there's also some things that just cannot be short cut. Take landscape photography as an example. If the light isn't right your dead. You can't overcome what the sun is doing or not doing nor where it is in the sky and what direction it's coming from. I'd argue that the same is true when humans are your primary subject matter. There's just some things that cannot be made quicker or faster depending on what you want.

Without complete context and being there yourself the above photographs won't tell you a whole lot but the former image and all the rest anywhere near those just don't work. That's cherry picked as one of the ones that's close to working for the project. The latter image is typical of after a bit of time passed. I could have picked any in or around that point about twenty minutes later or any thereafter that work far better.

I know this intimately but still there's things that creep in subconsciously that are ultimately attempts at short circuiting what only time can do. Sometimes it's taking far too many frames hoping that will somehow speed up what you want to see through the viewfinder. Sometimes it's a process hack for lack of a better term. Going through a lot of experiments so far I can see where some of these process hacks have crept in. They just don't work. At least they don't work for this project and what I want to see.


Take the above example as one of those process hacks. I love some of the photographs but I absolutely know they don't work for the black/white project. I've talked a little about these abstract failures before. The truth is this is a process hack. A trick I've used in a different manner for completely different endeavors. I've used something like this with more boudoir clients than I can count. Not this abstract kind of see-thru fabric thing specifically but the introduction of some sort of barrier between the person and the camera.

It's a shortcut to making the camera get out of the way, for whoever the camera is pointed at to loose some selfconcious stiffness that's ruining the pictures. I've used bedsheets, shower doors, props, you name it. It works fantastically. Well it works fantastically for boudoir clients; Specifically it works to get that job done in the fixed amount of time allotted. In most cases it even works for the intended feel. It just doesn't work here.


The only thing that works for the black/white project is time. The amount of time for the camera to get out of the way varies based on a million factors but whatever they happen to be on a given day working with any given person can't be artificially sped up.

In most cases I've had the luxury of as much time as I need working on this project. This is really a note to myself to really take a hard look going forward at what I'm doing, making sure it's not really a cleverly disguised shortcut to circumvent what's really required on a given day — more time spent.

End Note

Fuji XT-1 18-55 XF processed in LR CC with VSCO FILM05 BW400CN applied on import.