Discussion about Editing

Editing. You know, the Flemming-tight kind :)  I was looking at Derek's great Rockstar essay, and I thought about how interesting editing is and how this story would make a great springboard for a discussion about editing.

Now, it comes as little surprise that I subscribe to the less-is-more style. To me, the visual story becomes stronger by tightening the edit, it's like a comic book - I feel that if 8 really strong panels tell the story then over explaining the story in 20 panels, it just dilutes the really strong 8 and makes the story more unfocused, loose and with less impact. In short: Why show me 1 good + 2 filler images of the same thing, when 1 strong image I can dwell on will have much more impact - for me. Just my opinion on editing.

(I do better at editing images, I so struggle with this in writing, writing a "tight" focused story. Usually my drafts are all over the place, completely unfocused and "un-tight" :) )

I guess that is why I so often feel photo stories are not edited tightly enough. It's not they have to be 8 pictures long, if there are 50 super strong pictures from years of work on a project, by all means go for it. 

While I am at it, let me have a go at Salgado too :)  So, I saw his Genesis exhibition in Singapore. Epic, epic images but it's not tightly edited (neither are his books). I do not need 15 images of penguins, 1 or 2 really strong and epic will do and tell the story better. There are 6 whale tails, 15 penguin images, 10 albatross images etc etc in Genesis. By the time Charlene and I got to picture 12 of penguins we were both "omg will you edit your stuff Salgado, enough of the penguins". Yes, we don't mind having a go at the world's best documentary photographer hehehehe :)

So - editing - what are your thoughts on the matter and my comments below using Dereks' story?

Derek kindly let me use his story for this post to illustrate how I would edit it, so here goes, here's the thumbnails and explanations below of what I would take out and why:


RED: 2 pictures of shoes are at least one too many :) Actually, I don't need any of these pictures in the story, but if you want to show the shoe, show one and show the shoe in action on a cliff. Actually I just noticed you have that later in the essay, so delete these two images.

BLUE: You know the drill ehehehheeh, 3 pictures of chalk bag is 2 too many. Pic the last one where there's action, where the hands get "chalked up"

GREEN: These 3 are very similar to me, similar feel. I would go with 1 or 2 of these only. 

Triptych: Interesting idea. I do feel that I would love the image with the arm to stand alone - that's really strong.

Finally a question, I am curious, why the black and white at the end, what is the thinking behind this?