Keep it or throw it? by Garry Winogrand

I visit Sable Island off the coast of Nova Scotia twice a year for my work as a research zoologist. Shooting images on Sable Island is just like shooting images on the street, except that there are no people, rather birds, seals and horses, and the buildings are dunes and the streets are beaches.

When I tell people I am off to Sable Island they imagine me coming back with a stack of images and putting those images out to sell.  Well, that does happen but it takes months before I will look at those images and ‘decide’ which one is worthy for adding to my collection. This process is a bit like error checking in science. When I shoot the photograph I usually have a sense of whether that photograph is good or not, and sometimes I have no sense at all or a sense that it is poor.

When I return from Sable the last thing I want to do is look at images that I have been seeing for weeks; I need a break from the images of Sable. But more importantly, if I immediately look at those images that sense of whether an image is good or not is still quite fresh. If I wait for a month or more, that sense is gone and I can take myself back to Sable and revisit the moments when I took the image and listen to what the image is now saying.

“Photographers mistake the emotion they feel while taking the photo as a judgment that the photograph is good” – Garry Winogrand

Sable Island horses

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