Celebrating the Overlooked Photos

Bare trees dapple the golden light falling on Bridalveil Creek in Yosemite Valley.

The past several months I’ve been finalizing text and selecting images to illustrate my upcoming book Expressive Nature Photography. I first selected about 600 images – way too many for a book of 240 pages – and had to whittle it down. I ‘sweated’ over which ones were the best over others that I liked. I wanted them all in the book! It’s so hard – but it’s also been a lot of fun, because through it all, I have discovered many images that I forgot I made! 

How can that be, that I forgot an experience that was strong enough to invite me to make the picture? Because in this world where everything is ‘fast’ – it seems our digital photography falls in line with that all too easily.We make a lot of pictures because we can, inexpensively, but when we get home, we’re overloaded with the process of editing them, so we tend to skim through them and pick out the obvious ‘winners’ – the ones that grab us immediately. And so it should be that those get shared first, as they likely will ‘grab’ others, too.

But what about the lovely ‘sleepers’ – the personal favorites, that somehow reconnect you with the moment of being there? They are not always the show-stopping images that you planned to make – or were lucky to make, if the weather/light were just right that day. Yet these other images were made because you felt something when you were making them. Maybe it brought up a memory, a personal experience or feeling, that won’t translate into something that others ‘feel’ when looking at the photograph, because they didn’t have the experience. Yet those images are arguably just as valuable, if not more, to your process of creative expression, and to continuing your connection with the world around you; they are photographs that come from a mindful approach to photography – that of feeling first, photographing second.  

The image in this journal post was such an image. I remember loving the light as is spilled through the trees and across the rushing stream – during spring’s snowmelt. The wave pushing up caught my interest. But this image was put aside for others on that same trip that I thought spoke to a larger audience – and I forgot about the ‘audience of one – me’ that is also important.

Take some time and look back over your own files of pictures to find ones you may have passed over at first. Quite possibly, some of those pictures will be worthy of sharing, too!

Thanks for visiting,

 
 

Brenda Tharp
Brenda is an award-winning photographer, author, keynote speaker, workshop instructor and tour leader. Her acclaimed books include Creative Nature and Outdoor Photography, and Extraordinary Everyday Photography.
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