I've just started work on some images from the gardens around the Taj Mahal. I knew when I was there, roaming the gardens in the industrial smog that was shrouding the entire complex, that I would have to be very, very careful with how I edit and work on these. I tend to go for saturated images and contrast. A punchy image. But these ones are begging to be left alone, or more to the point, desaturated, left to be misty and vague.
It's early days yet, but I feel that what I've got together from my velvia shots alone is coming together nicely. I have a large light table at home now, which means that I can lay out all the images that make some kind of impact on me. Once they're all there on the same table, with the light illuminating them from the back, I'm able to see more clearly the 'story' of what will come.
It's hard to describe, but I don't think I work with the intention of working on each image as a sole entity. It's the bigger picture I'm after. Does the entire collection of images I have fit together? Do they compliment, do they share the same tonal aspects?
This is when I can get brutal. I believe in quality control. I start by cutting my films down to what I think is good, and then I cut them down even further to the ones that I know don't niggle me in any way, or perhaps, I know they have faults, but I'm happy with them all the same. There's something pleasing in their imperfection.
Anyway, I digress. I'm working on them, but I think it's a delicate process. You cannot rush the birth of your creativity. It has to come to you at the right time, and that's not just when you decide to click the shutter. There are many stages to the birth of an image, and in this stage, I'm talking about how I decide to edit and how I decide to put my story together.
I'm off to the Isle of Eigg this week and then into a glen, to a friends cottage. So It's going to be a while before I have anything concrete to show, and even then, I'd prefer to sit with them for a while, live with my results, get used to them before I decide to share. I'm sorry, but this is perhaps the most precious stage of photography for me. I've got to know I did my best, and I've not stopped half way on an image.