A post from my friend Glenn Campbell in Darwin, Australia about selecting photos for his new web site. It really is a great one.
In putting together a portfolio for the first time in a long while, I have found myself paying far too much attention to my own pictures of late, so much so that I am frankly, heartily sick and tired of the sight of them and every frame screams at me “You’re kidding aren’t you? Are you really going to put that old junk up? YOU HACK!”
Revisiting what could have been; if only I had just moved... waited for the light to change... got in a little closer...Woulda, coulda, shoulda...
I live in the remote far north of Australia, in Darwin and most of the folks that commission photography don’t, so the face to face relationships that can help form a peer group are few and far between. In having a major look back at the last decade (plus) of my life and work, the emotions run from acute shock and disappointment at a picture that I used to feel very positive about to the excitement of discovering a previously unrealised jewel as my own visual literacy matures.
But he who relies only on his own opinion keeps a fool’s counsel.
The many photographers and editors I consulted came from all around the world - some were old friends, some new friends from blogs and forums, some were cold calls, some were very successful photographers, some just love pictures - some gave useful advice and some gave advice that was pretty hard to swallow; some just didn’t bother.
But after all that, the one thing that everyone who replied agrees on is...
“Oh Man! I just love that jumping dog shot...” Oh Gawd! It was taken 13 years ago, it could have been so much better... It was taken when (with hindsight) I knew pretty much nothing about everything... there are so many reasons why THAT SHOT drives me crazy!
It was taken in Urandangi , a town that no one’s heard of, of a bloke, Ray, who’s sadly passed away since, taken in a context that I have totally forgotten about (although I think it had something to do with security because he had three other mutts chained to 3 other cars...) around the old bus that he was living in for reasons that totally escape me now.
So, regardless of all I’ve done since and all I’ll do in the future, I’m the jumping dog guy , I’ll be carrying around “The levitating Blue Heeler from Urandangi” , publicly scoffing it , secretly enjoying it, quietly ruminating on its imperfections and wondering how good it could have been. Wanting so much to just leave it behind... Wanting even more to take a better one.
Love it – hate it; like it or lump it; stand for something or you’ll fall for anything, never look a gift horse in the mouth and a thousand and one other well played out clichés. But as with all clichés, there’s a reason why they are clichés... and hey, at the moment it’s my signature tune and isn’t it better to have one than not?
-Glen Campbell, Darwin