Often I find I revisit an image (call it a digital negative) and reimagine it. I’m not really reimagining it what I’m doing is pulling more meaning out of the negative. I didn’t see it all the first time or maybe I get consumed with how the image was processed so I consider it done. In the old film and darkroom days it was very labor intensive to do this kind of work so the tendency was to create a finished piece and file the negative for posterity. Digital processing has allowed artists to look deeper into an image and see more.
I write poetry and you know when a poem’s done when it’s beat you to death. What I hope for is the reader to take my poem and put the words into their context to find the meaning. If you think there is one right interpretation of a poem you’re crazy or an English teacher. Photographs are much the same.
I look at a negative and have an initial response to it and that leads me to creating what is a finished work of art, most of the time. The amount of time I take to refine and edit an image is usually two hours. Sometimes more rarely less.
Then what happens is I scroll past the negative as I’m doing something else and realize there’s more in it than I saw the first time. I usually have a good idea what I want a finished photograph to look like. I either go searching for it but sometimes I stumble upon it. Either way there are times that there is more in an image than my original idea.
With digital processing (and time) I can search for the other meaning lurking there. I challenge newer photographers to do the same. Don’t settle. I’ve included a few examples with the original RAW image to reference.