National Geographic photographer Sam Abell once said, “My best work is often almost unconscious and occurs ahead of my ability to understand it.” It’s common to feel this way when editing and evaluating photos. Sometimes I don’t edit a group of photos until months or years after I’ve taken them, and I may catch nuances or connections then that escaped me when I took them.
That is why it is important not to worry so much about getting the perfect picture—just concentrate on capturing moments and experiences. You’ll have plenty of time later to reflect on it.
And, paradoxically, so much of photography is what happens after the moment. A photo takes one one-hundredth of a second, but we have lots of time afterwards to study and make sense of the image. Some photographers used to keep unprocessed film for months or years so that they could view it later with fresh eyes and a new perspective.
Photo tip: Go over past work from time to time. There may be some worthwhile images that you passed over at the time. Time and experience can give new perspectives.
“Marching Band, Toronto; 1983” was discovered recently on a contact sheet some thirty four years after it was taken. It is from the series: Toronto Days