Film photography · Medium Format · Photography

To edit, or not to edit? To photograph, or not to photograph?

Another photograph I made on my final pre-lockdown roll of film today. It’s a photo I like a lot, but it’s one that, from an aesthetic perspective at least, could probably do with some editing. I’m talking primarily about the twigs at the left of the frame and the light stalks of grass at bottom-right, but also possibly the modern turbine (although I do like the juxtaposition, I’m not so keen on the placement of the old and new structures). I don’t mind removing distractions from my photos – although I never add anything in – but I’m also conscious to not completely change the reality of what was observed. Based on this, the twigs and grass are probably fair game, but I feel the wind-turbine is maybe a bridge too far.

Ideally, I would try to avoid distractions such as the twigs when taking the shot, but this particular composition has a very limited vantage point and reaching over to move the twigs would likely involve a fall or a nasty laceration from the barbed wire atop the fence through which I made the picture. Perhaps I’ll try again one day though.

In other news, our government in the UK has announced some loosening of the lockdown measures that will come into force this Wednesday. The key one for me as a photographer is that it is now allowed to drive to an outdoor location for the purpose of leisure as long as social distancing is observed. Although there was no mention of photography specifically, sunbathing and picnics (albeit only with members of your household) were both given as examples, so I’m pretty confident that photography would be ok.

While I like the fact that I can now venture further afield for purposes other than exercise or essential shopping, I’m not convinced that this is a good idea where reducing infection rates from the coronavirus is concerned. While I’m quite happy to just go for a walk around some agricultural land where I’m unlikely to encounter any other people (or can easily distance myself if I do), I fear that it will give free licence to masses of people who will now see it as ok to travel to the seaside, to beauty spots, and to other “honeypot” locations, meaning that these places will become potential hotspots for the virus to spread. Even if everyone maintains a two-metre distance, there will still be the need to use toilets and other facilities where there will be multiple opportunities frof conamination.

I’m not sure if, given my concerns, that my going out for photography – even to a place that is likely going to be deserted – makes me a hypocrite?


Yashica Mat 124G & Kodak Plus-X (expired 2008).

Taken on 22 March 2020

6 thoughts on “To edit, or not to edit? To photograph, or not to photograph?

  1. That reminds me of a windmill shot I took with my YashicaMat!

    I’m with you on the re-opening, by the way. I have a lot of mixed feelings whenever I go out, even to the middle of nowhere. At the same time, though, cabin fever is definitely taking a toll, so I’ve been going out more with a camera as mental relief. I stick to places where I can maintain social distancing really easily. It’s been worth it and has helped my mental state tremendously.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Lacerations are bad. The twigs are fine, in this instance I’d argue they at least add a little DoF. Neat juxtaposition of the old windmill and turbine, for sure! We’re still shelter-in-place here but a lot of our public lands in the mountains nearby have just been opened back up, as of last week. You raise some interesting points about the quandaries of venturing further afield. To be honest, I haven’t resolved it in my own mind so nothing at all has changed for us as a household. And we’re in no hurry. we’re lucky, privileged enough at the moment to have steady income and keep our kids learning and supervised at home. The national response here in the U.S. to the pandemic has been so utterly horrible, super-bad (irrational and counterproductive, even) with certain states and communities going on with life as usual that I’m completely flummoxed as to what our outcomes are going to be getting through this……

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m kinda rationalising it in my head that, if I drive further afield (albeit avoiding any beauty-spots), then I’ll be able to find places where I’m unliklely to come across any other people. Whereas staying local, although it avoids driving, means that I’m much more likely to come across people exercising, walking their dogs, or – now that some restrictions are lifted – just being outside for other reasons.

      Given some of the pictures I’ve seen in today’s media of people crammed onto public transport now that they’ve been told they can return to work if safe(!), I won’t be surprised if we’re back in lockdown again before long.


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