A while back I sort of felt like I hit a wall with editing my photos.

At first when I started shooting, I loved editing! I could do lots of cool stuff that made my pictures look cool. That thrill faded as I got some nice old lenses and my pictures started to look more like how I wanted them to look right out of the camera.

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So I started trying to make my edits much more subtle, like a bit of contrast to make the brights bright and the darks dark.

But then I came back from a few times shooting where my pictures didn’t really look like much of anything, and then I started shooting film and my digital photos started looking kind of lifeless, and I really didn’t enjoy shooting very much.

So I figured I could try and make my digital pictures look a bit more like my film pictures and that didn’t lead me to good results.

More sadness, less shooting, less editing.

But I’ve been looking at more pictures from more people and I’ve been trying again to tweak my photos into something that looks good and engaging. I’ve been playing with color curves, I’ve been pressing down on brights when I used to be blowing them out, I’m overexposing wildly, and I’ve been saturating a lot.

I feel like I’ve breathed a little life into some old shots I’ve taken that I really didn’t know what to do with at the time. That’s been quite refreshing.

I think, more than anything, I want my pictures to look, I don’t know what the right way to put it is, expensive? Some kind of clarity or quality that looks like it grants something back to what is being photographed. Like there’s some kind of exchange, rather than a capture.

I’m not entirely sure how successful any of these ventures have been.

What is particularly annoying is that my last few batches of film really haven’t turned out looking like anything at all. They’re what I’ve been falling back on lately, and not having those come out like my digital shots has me feeling a little out of the water.

I guess I don’t I mind any of it all too deeply. Nobody pays me to take photos.

This one, for instance, isn’t even focused on the car.

I feel like I’m getting close to a sense that works, at least in some situations.

The picture of the old farm equipment above I quite like, but the shot below taken from the same spot looking at a different old farm building, with the sun behind me rather than in front of me, doesn’t look right at all.

I feel like I’m a long way from having a sure hand in the editing suite. I guess I have to keep fucking around.


Contact the author at raphael@jalopnik.com.