Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Post-Production Detachment

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When I'm shooting, I'm intensely involved. Later, when I'm reviewing, editing, and processing the photos I've snapped, I'm mostly detached.

Detachment is defined as a state of being objective or aloof. Being detached from your work, leastwise the post-production part of your work, allows you to step back and view your work from further away-- not from physically further away, but emotionally, artistically, creatively, and intellectually further away. And that's a good thing.

When I'm shooting, many (if not most) of the decisions I make are subjective. Part of the reason for that subjectivity is time, that is, the time constraints associated with production. In other words,  I don't have time to sit back and objectively (in a detached and aloof manner) think about all my shooting decisions while I'm shooting.  Instead, I direct models into various poses and expressions and quickly frame each shot in ways that I think, subjectively think in those moments, look good.  What looks good in those moments are based on near instantaneous decisions; decisions which are mostly subjective. Decisions driven by what I "think" looks good. In the moment. Subjectively.

There's a great line in the movie, "Predator," when, after Arnold's commandos come into contact with the flick's title character, someone points out to Jesse Ventura's character, Blain, that he's bleeding. "I ain't got time to bleed," Blain calmly replies. Shooting is like that. When I'm shooting -- and this is probably true for most of you -- I ain't got time to be objective.

Post-production is a whole different matter. In post, I have time to be objective, as does mostly everyone. And being objective requires a certain amount of detachment and aloofness.  Have you ever snapped an image and, after quickly chimping it on the back of your camera, you became truly excited about the cool and killer pic you just snapped?  Sure you have. We all have. We all make those subjective sorts of quick decisions while we're shooting. But then, later on, when reviewing the photos and you come to that one killer shot, you objectively realize it's neither a killer image or, perhaps, one that's even going to make it past the cut?  Yeah. That's happened to me too, often enough. Probably to you as well.

Being emotionally, artistically, creatively, and intellectually detached from your photos when later reviewing and processing them is a good thing. A very good thing. I might even go so far as to say it's a required thing. It's not difficult to fall in love with some of our shots when we're snapping them, and to have that "love," whatever it was initially based on, continue on into the post processes. Unfortunately, that's not generally a good thing. Worse, it can sometimes lead us to painting lipstick on pigs or frosting turds all because we fell in love with one pic or another, for one reason or another during the subjective stage of picture making (production), and then we're unable  -- again, for one reason or another -- to let go of that love during post, i.e., during the time when we should be in our detached and objective stages of picture making.

Just some thoughts on detachment, that is, being detached when working on our pics in post.

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