The pleasure and pain of photo editing, December 2014

My aim is to pass on the pleasure of photography by removing the pain of editing.
Photo sequencing can be a pain in the eye-balls. If you shoot stories, you know that feeling- cutting 10 or 20 thousand pictures down to 10% then 5% then 1%. After this, the slower process begins- removing wafer-thin slices to make a final edit. For competitions the magic number is about 12. This allows enough space for depth but constrains the visually verbose. *

Inspired by this, I thought I would share my experience, the pleasure without the pain, with editors and collectors in my ‘little-shots’ sets. The idea was to create a memorable aide-memoir to explain to them who I am and what I do- I tell stories by a series of photographs.

The little-shots function like an abridged book, bound by their box. They have even worked as a mini-exhibit in a group show in France.

The story is pressed on the box to ensure the viewer is offered the context before viewing the photographs. Then they may open and discover 12 little prints with further small captions on the reverse. Pleasure with the pain removed. Left with the final edit they can sequence till their heart’s content.

I explained this concept to my design brains (Ed Watt at Ostreet) whereupon he presented me with a flattened forest of paper and card. Designers love that kind of thing. We sighted the muted tones of Fedregoni paper and I thought it sounded like a sports car brand so we went with that.

The box card was de-bossed at a local family-run firm to complete the personal, handmade finish. Glasgow press are renowned for their expertise across decades. Outside the workshop lies a vast graving dock, now derelict, from the city’s industrial past when ships were made by hand with skill and sweat and love. The workshop retains that spirit with antique drawers full of wood and metal font blocks lining the walls. At the back of the hall is the chattering and hissing pressing machine overseen by the staff. The process is hypnotic and rhythmic with the occasional irregularity. Less problematic perhaps than most IOS updates but the staff are on hand at every moment. The pigment tone is judged by eye then applied to the smoothing rollers that lick the impression before it is pressed (or rather slammed) into the card.

The flat box is fllicked away into a neat stack by a metal arm. A human arm then removes the cut template and hand folds the box to store the sequenced images. The paper equivalent of an espresso, a little shot of photographic pleasure.

*Note: 12 has been the standard for competitions, which is why its comes as a shock that World Press photo have this year made it 10 photos. To saves the judges time and prevents the culture of over-share, I presume.

to buy little shots go to the shop.

Kieran Dodds The pleasure and pain of photo editing, December 2014