Well, Darwin’s in the first real stages of the 50 at 50 project and broke a sweat the other day when he realized how many folders and how many images he had to weed through in order to select his 50 images for the final eBook. After 25 years as a photographer, I was curious to know how many photos he actually had…turns out he’s digitally archived about 15,000 plus there’s thousands and thousands of slides and negatives gathering dust in our basement.
Luckily, after a couple of days of skimming, it looks like he’s got this project by the horns and has wrestled down the initial selects to 355 images. Whew! We sat down on our couch for a little Q & A. At one point, I asked him if it was hard to choose just 50 shots for this project.
Yeah…first of all, I was surprised by, out of…nearly 15,000 images that it was pretty fast just to get down to 350 which tells me there’s a whole lot of filler in there…. I think something that Ansel Adams once said and I’ll get the quote incorrect but the idea close is that you’re lucky if you make ten good pictures a year. So that tells me then if I’ve been shooting 25 years and I got it down to 350 images that’s just over ten a year. So, I’m doing great!
Although I’m interviewing Darwin for this project, the choice of which images end up in the book and which will not is totally up to Darwin. We talked a little about how even curating a collection is a selective exercise that colours the final result.
If you gave 14,000 pictures for people to edit through and pick what they thought was the strongest work…you’d probably get very different answers…. I think that’s a difficult thing for photographers to do, is to be objective about their work because there’s always subjectivity involved in terms of, you know, what was your emotional state, why is this picture important to you… So these are very personal pics and may or may not represent the best art or the best craft of photography that I’ve done, just these are important pictures to me and ones that have stood the test of time that I don’t get tired of looking at. There’s also some new images in there that have been overlooked over the course of time that never have really seen the light of day or been published or shared and there were some surprises in there.
And where did the idea for this project come from? Here is its origins….
A couple of years ago now, I turned 50. And I realized that…I’d been in photography…since 1986 and it happened to be 25 years in. I was turning 50 years old, seen a lot of changes in the industry, and I thought it might be kind of a nice time to show a bit of retrospective…a retrospective of my work over those 25 years and so I just decided on the number 50 images to fit the 50th birthday.
I wonder which images will make the cut! I know I look forward to discovering the stories behind the shots over the next few weeks. The final word to Darwin:
All artists create work that ultimately needs to be shared. I think that that’s part of what an artist does is they create things that they share with somebody. And so, you gotta put it out there.
Below is a small sample of five images from Darwin’s initial select of 355 images.