RIP Outtakes: George Voronov
I think there's a growing trend of transparency within photo-land regarding process. Maybe it's the effect of the internet or maybe people have just gotten a bit more sound. Honestly, I have no idea. However, transparency in photography is something that I've always valued. I think primarily because I try to be open whenever possible about the fact that I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. So whenever someone who is actually established comes out and says "Yeah I dunno, I just kind of bash at it until something good happens", I find that to be very heartening. I think it's important to demystify. We're all trying to figure things out, one mistake at a time.
In light of this, we're going to be posting a series of outtakes from each of the three projects in RIP, our latest zine. We're gonna try to talk about editing and sequencing. Why we made the choices that we did. Whether this will be of any use, only time will tell. But hey, #datcontent.
What happened in my case was that I went away for a few months with the aim of not shooting a specific project. I was in a bit of a rut and I just wanted to experiment with a looser shooting style and interpret whatever came out of that in the editing process. The images were like a raw stream of consciousness. So rather than try parse through them as they came, I wanted to wait until I had them all in front of me and let them tell me what they were about.
When I got home, Ellius got onto me saying he wanted to make a zine under the Junior umbrella. Long story short, we came up with RIP, our little musing on the art of the snapshot. I had about fifteen rolls of 35mm to scan and a very tight deadline. Given those parameters, the medium we were working in, and the aesthetic we wanted to achieve, I took my edit in a fairly specific direction. I wanted to convey the experience of Central America through fragments, staying away from a diaristic or overly narrative approach. "White people in Mexico" seemed like a fairly uninspiring pretext for a story. Instead, I wanted to reduce things to the basics: light, shape, colour, sensation.
There were certain things that made a very firm impression on me that I really wanted to nail. The harshness of the light and the depth of the shadows, the cool mist of the mountains, the feeling of the water (I love water). In light of this, I ended up ditching a lot of portraits and other more overtly descriptive photographs.
The above two photographs are kind of perfect examples of this. I like both of them, they're quite pretty. Saying that, they're both definitely missing the ambiguous and slightly abstract quality of the previous two. They're too self explanatory. There's too much of my own experience there. My feeling is that it's probably more interesting to let the reader draw from images what they will. Giving too much away in an edit is like breaking down why a joke is funny.
These two images are weird. The one on the left is actually one of my favourite images but in a particularly painful bit of self-reckoning during the editing process, I came to realise that that was most likely due to personal biases. The picture beside it is quite similar, it fit the criteria for my edit on paper but just didn't really sit well with my other picks. Both of these babies were then mercilessly slaughtered.
The images below met broadly similar fates.
Righto, I have some work photos to edit and a new documentary series on Netflix to attend to so I'm going to leave my contribution to this feature there. However, I will leave you with this. Remember what I said about transparency? Well. I'm putting my hands up. I came across this photo and just didn't think I could do anything with it.
Sure enough, a few months go by, I come across it in my archive and I fall in love. It's getting printed in my portfolio. And isn't that one of the most amazing things about photography? Photos can grow on you. They can surprise you. Sometimes, they can outwit you.
So go take another look at a series you've been looking at. I can pretty much guarantee you'll find something among your outtakes that will pique your interest.
But before you do, why don't you be sound, buy a copy of RIP here and keep that Junior Press gravy train a chuggin'.