Quality vs. Quantity

Why are we chasing after making more and more photographs?

A famous Russian artist – Alexander Andreyevich Ivanov – spent 20 years on one painting which turned to be his whole artistic life. The painting is absolutely breathtaking.

We, photographers, on the other hand seem to want to produce more photographs per minute than ever. I’m not sure if industry is encouraging us or industry just meets our demand by producing faster shot per second cameras, faster cards, software to go thru photo-editing faster.

Do we produce something great or just visual noise? Is it time to slow down and think about what we trying to get to by doing this? I used to be inspired by single photographs of the past and I still am. Nowadays I’m subscribed to all kinds of digital photography feeds but for the most part all I get is one stream of noise. It seems that photography has become more about inventing something new rather than about creating something beautiful. Now single photograph is not enough, today it is all about folios. Is a folio just a way to unload more photographs into the market?

I wonder what would be an equivalent of spending twenty years on a single painting in photography? How would one work on one photograph their whole life? And what that photograph would be? Maybe a folio is an equivalent of that painting? And it is all about polishing that set of photographs: substituting some of them with other, reshooting some of them, redoing post-processing, etc. That seems to make sense, just don’t make me look at a folio of a thousand photographs.

2 thoughts on “Quality vs. Quantity”

  1. I like single photographs. 10 best photographs better then 100 just good.

    I trying to do “more shots, less subjects”. Carefully choose subjects to photograph and trying to find the best angle, exposure, focal length, etc. for this subject. Instead of quickly shooting as many subjects as you can—only one shot per each subject.

    Shooting less is good: easier to choose which photos to proccess. Strict selection is good too: you can spend more time on the best photographs.

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