My Process & Skills (3) Photo Editing

Photo Essay assignment continues. Our first homework is to take minimum 100 pictures, print them as thumbnails, and cut them like mini cards. It was so hard to take hundreds pictures in 4 days (time we could borrow a camera from the equipment center), and it was also time-consuming to cut them into pieces. Finally, I myself took more than 500 pictures, and cut 130 tiny thumbnails.

On the class, we spreaded them on the tables, did brief presentations and had a discussion for each theme. When, Where, How and Why, they were taken? One of my classmates focused on hands, of anonymous people gathering to the park. The other took his pictures all in the silent woods, nobody was there but a deer. Roadside trashes, graffiti series on walls, audiences in museums. And then, we selected each 12 pictures.

My turn was coming. The instructor looked not being interested in most of my photos of people, which were taken in a Burlesque show, in a park, on the road. As I wrote in this blog before, photos of “people who don’t notice at being taken a photo” are my lifework. Hey, why you don’t like it!?



Instead of them, the instructor pointed some pictures like these below. “Nice. I like it.” … really? These were taken as just a little “side dish” served between my “main theme”. The worst one was taken only to check camera settings of white balance. “No, no, I’ve already had several themes to take these pictures. I’d like to select one meaningful theme for my Photo Essay, without these meaningless pictures!” The insolent student said to the instructor. And then, the instructor Edward Walter answered to me, like this (only if my sketchbook could have succeeded to catch his words exactly).

“You don’t need the theme to take a picture. You don’t need the meaning to take a picture. When you took hundreds and thousands of pictures, you might find a sequence beyond the meanings. Your theme comes out from there, spontaneously. Catch it .”


Ok, Ok, so, you mean that is the “Process & Skills”, sir! Therefore, I started to the endless fight with hundreds of pictures I took… To consider what I’ve never thought during taking the picture. To find what I’ve never seen during scoping the finder. I understood that taking pictures is not like cooking, but just like preparing foodstuffs for cooking. And now, I’m at my kitchen counter. To choose them, edit them, and cook them. It’s not finished yet. Photo Essay assignment has to be continued.


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Iku Okada

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