Editing Down Work

When creating a portfolio or producing work for an exhibition, a photographer needs to be able to decide what images they want to show to the public. It is vital to get the sequence the images will be shown in right, especially if they’ll be displayed in a gallery or a photo book.

The edit of the photos is dependant on the dissemination method, which could be an exhibition, a photo book or just a portfolio. Realising what the images will be used for is the most important part of editing down a portfolio. For example, in an exhibition there may be limited space, and so the photographer wouldn’t have as much freedom when deciding on the size of the prints. They would have to eliminate the images that would only work in a large size and concentrate on the images that can be condensed. Another example is if the images were in a photo book, does the photographer want the book to tell a story or a narrative, or just be a collection of images.

There’s two main ways a collection of images can be classified. Sequential and series. Sequential is when the images are shown in a sequence, and there’s only one way they can be ordered. For example this work by Eadweard Muybridge called Animals in Motion:

From: http://www.eadweardmuybridge.co.uk/muybridge_image_and_context/animal_in_motion/

This sequence was created to prove theories of how horses run, and if all four legs came off the ground, which is proven in one of the images.

A series is when the images are arranged either in a narrative or in an aesthetically pleasing way, to compliment the formal aspects of the image like colour and tone. By doing this the photographer can make an interesting narrative without using large amounts of text, which is especially useful in a gallery or photobook. This is much more difficult to achieve than a sequential series however, because there are a lot more factors involved.

A good example of this is the book Seacoal by Chris Killip which can be found here http://www.photobookstore.co.uk/photobook-seacoal.html

(Images from http://www.steidlville.com)

For example the two images above are displayed over a two page spread because Killip believed that the images worked well with each other. The images have similarities in subject and layout, which is why they work together well.


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