photography, photograph, wouter brandsma, light, shadow, ricoh gr, detachement


2014, Photography

photography, photograph, wouter brandsma, light, shadow, ricoh gr, detachement

In December I promised myself to not immediately ingest and edit my photographs. To let it “marinate” for a while. For the sake of more conscious editing and objectivity. Sound advice, sounds logical too. Also to keep these photographs more for myself. I’m just having a harder time with my photography. And sharing is making yourself vulnerable too. Even more so when it still all feels one directional. Uh, funny that we still call photography a form of communication though.

photography, photograph, wouter brandsma, light, shadow, ricoh gr, detachement

Okay, so marinate them. Strange word. We marinate food to flavor it and to tenderize tough meat. Marinating food may last seconds or a couple of days. But my photographs? Really? I hate it, I so deeply hate it now. Do we have any idea what we all suggest as good advices? A project, one camera one lens, a book, prints, editing by others, get out of your comfort zone, Canon, Nikon, believe in film! Did I forget the Fuji X-series? We can all make lists, easy peasy. You wanna hear a good advice? Stop listening to others, but I admit that even I fail to do so. You can’t marinate food too long before bacterias make it impossible to consume safely. And when we try to preserve food for much longer we just pickle it. And it starts to taste salty or sour. I don’t want salty or sour photographs, do you?

photography, photograph, wouter brandsma, light, shadow, ricoh gr, detachement

Back to that marinating thing. Last weekend I went through almost 2 months of photographs. A first edit, post processing…………. It did nothing. It really did nothing. There was no added flavor. And it didn’t tenderize it at all. It was hard to chew and swallow. I got detached from my own photographs. No excitement. Oh sure, too much excitement is a lousy advisor for a photographer. It is just a lot bunch of crap. Or at least for me. I killed the excitement, I forgot the moments. It is all gone. Almost 2 months of photographs. And all I feel is detachement. So much for that sound advice to marinate your photographs. It is all salty and sour now which sounds like pickling to me.

photography, photograph, wouter brandsma, light, shadow, ricoh gr, detachement

But what about your older photographs? You know, the ones from say a couple of years ago? You feel detached from those? No, simply stated. No! I still remember I took them, when I edited and processed these and when I decided to share them. All that makes a photograph for me. I still know what I saw and felt, because I kept those moments alive. Right after the moment I took them. Exactly that excitement that everyone warns you for. That overexcitement that should be your worst advisor. Or at least the lists tell me so.

photography, photograph, wouter brandsma, light, shadow, ricoh gr, detachement

Now I just feel numb. I try to remember these moments again, but it doesn’t come easy. Bringing back moments. Sure I care that my photographs are good. Good for me, so I don’t really care that my photographs are really good. I rather have garbage I feel emotionally attached to than “marinated” photographs that sucked my life out of it. Just for the sake of being really good. Does that all makes sense? It does somehow to me… I think.

It doesn’t make sense to me to rationalize photography. It is passion, it is all about feelings. I just need to convince myself to listen more often to my inner voice. Avoiding this detachement.

photography, photograph, wouter brandsma, light, shadow, ricoh gr, detachement

All photographs by Wouter Brandsma

30 thoughts on “Detached

  1. if you lost it that quick delete the images or burn the negs – What of your attachment or immediacy does an unrelated viewer bring to the images? If they don’t convey something of importance, or feeling, then why keep or share them?

    1. The question remains if photographs should convey something of importance? And for who do you photograph? For me I prefer to keep the fire burning from the moment I took the photograph. At first it is all my process and I much rather prefer to hold onto that immediacy. A photograph might be good later on, but once I feel detached from it it looses the importance for me. And in the end likely not worth sharing. Not for anyone else.

      And it doesn’t have to do anything with immediate sharing either. It is more that moment between making and finally looking at that photograph for the first time. That helps me.

      1. “The question remains if photographs should convey something of importance?”

        Not necessarily for me. There’s beauty without deeper meaning. Not enough for you to having created something beautiful?
        Importance is just one dimension of a photo. Or do you talk of significance?

        Significance is mostly a matter of being at the right place at the right moment (in other words: luck) and not about being a good photographer.


        1. Like there can be beauty without deeper meaning, there can also be a deeper meaning without beauty. What matters is what the photographs means for you poersonally. That is thge importance, the significance in my opinion.

  2. Listening to yourself and enjoying the process. Using the passion that makes you capture photos in the first place. Sounds like best advice of all.
    I find it important to process my photos pretty immediately. Sometimes I wait a couple days to choose which ones to post when they all look fabulous because of my emotion. But I almost always know the stunning ones right away and they end up making the final cut in the long run.

    1. It is like seeing that contact sheet briefly after developing your photographs. You connect to it and it echoes your sentiment. That is already enough for me. The sharing thing might take a while or maybe not take place at all. I just like making a first edit pretty soon after I took the photographs.

  3. Wouter I think sometimes you can over analyse issues such as these. Whatever made you press that shutter at the time is what matters most. I love your view of the world and always enjoy seeing your latest post.

    1. Is expressing how I feel about it over analyzing? Well maybe it is. Photography seems like magic, and often it is, but is a combination of so many things. And so many are related to just feelings.

  4. If you think you can discover your own definite truth about photography – what it means, how to post process it, the best way to edit it, how to share it, how to relate to it – forget it! Hour feelings and views are fluid, temporary. And if they weren’t… what boredom it would be, to have definite certainties about this subject. Hell, I take pictures since I was 14 and I can’t even say now if I prefer color or B&W, grainy or smoth, street or landscape, edit now or edit later… It all depends.
    In my own young photoblog I’ve written things about photography that I no longer subscribe. So, in these days I just enjoy taking my pictures, share them and keep my mouth reasonably shut about it.
    That’s a thing that I’m glad you don’t do because you have the ability to raise such pertinent questions when you write about photography.
    Oh, and by the way… Great, streamlined, graphic pictures you have here!
    Thanks for sharing, Wouter.

    1. Thank you António. I guess it is true that we constantly adjust our process, like we constantly adjust our phoitography. We often don’t realize it, because it is fluid and part of us. When deliberately forcing to do it differently we can realize that. For some that may work, like a wake up call. Very often though I don’t think it will work since it is not part of our being.

  5. Everyone has their way to work their photos, they set their time frame, deadline. But for most, I believe anything that’s marinated for more than 2 months are for the project type of works. It’s too long for a blogger to not produce anything for their readers. It’s what I concern 🙂 You are the pilot and the passengers do want to know what’s up.

    1. It hasn’t to do with the sharing thing for me, but with the feeling of just working with these new photographs. It is that immediacy that I like. It might eventually still take months or even years before I might share them. Just working with them helps me to keep that precious feeling alive.

  6. Many lovely images, Wouter. I too have great difficulties waiting to post process, make alive, pictures. It have to be done immediately, while in the flow, wile still riding the great wave of a good capture. That is the way it is for m e. Maybe it will change. I think not. I am also struggling with wether or not a beautiful image is “enough” in itself, if there´s any true value in “just” being beautiful, or if there has to be some other meaning in it. I think in the end beauty in itself takes you a long way.

    1. I don’t know which directions my photography will lead to, but after many years of photographing you kind of develop a way of seeing and working. Just that is beautiful in my opinion.

      1. Yes, the working process in itself, the road and not necessarily the destination often offers great beauty. A strong reason why we´re doing this in the first place. Making pictures really gives me calm and enrichens me.

  7. Photography is a passion to me & so I try not to think too much about it. I’m trying to keep as straight & simple as possible. Meaning I’m trying to follow that feel. Some of my captures need this marinating time. They gain more than just one meaning to me the more time I spend with them, the more time I investigate. Some photographs need to be cared for immediately because there was such a strong feel & vibration while capturing them & I don’t want this feel to dissapear.

    Following the feel for every single frame is a daily struggle to me. Usually I don’t have the time to get back to them immediately though I feel the urge. On the other hand I need time to dig deeper into those frames. As well as I need a certain atmosphere to get closer: I need to be alone. Just my frames, music, coffee & cigarettes. To struggle for this makes a hard time but it is worth every fight, every disillusion, every change of mind & every long road taken.

    I like the way you share these gems of yours. They way you choose them carefully. The way you present them. And the time you spend to share what is your passion & with that touching me deep inside. Coming back to your place is like my daily walk through the art gallery of my own soul. It just means a lot, lot, lot to me, my friend.

    All the best & safe travels, Fritsch.

    1. Photography is a struggle. Has been so since the mid Nineties, but my process and the outcome gradually changed. Carefully choosing photographs has always been part of it though. The best moment was the anxiety of seeing the photographs for the first time and I just don’t like to wait too long for that.

  8. I can see what you mean. Personally I’d like to post process them as soon as possible and then after one or two days, or maybe a week, make a selection with a little less excitement. I like to make my photos for me, and looking at the amount of visitors on my site I probably do 🙂 But heck I love it. Thanks for your thoughts and I think you should do what feels best for you.

  9. It’s interesting, to read your thoughts. As always, I find myself to be on a similar wavelength and to be following a similar path. Maybe I’m more destructive in my approach, ha.

    Trust you are well.

    1. Destructive. You’ve killed all off your darlings. Many of mine were killed a couple of years ago. It all feels like unfinished business though. I still like the break, but have no idea what I want to do with my photography.

      Take care.

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