The Art of Selectivity in Photography: Lessons from a Day's Shoot

The challenge of displaying every photograph taken during a day's outing offers photographers a compelling lens through which to scrutinize their craft. This approach, highlighting the tension between quantity and quality, encourages a deeper engagement with the fundamental aspects of photography such as composition and lighting.

Coming to you from James Popsys, this insightful video delves into his personal experiment inspired by a concept borrowed from another artist. Popsys decides to document and share every photo he captures during a trip to Coney Island, regardless of their perceived quality. This approach is rooted in a desire to counteract the common "spray and pray" method often facilitated by digital photography, where the abundance of storage allows for thousands of shots to be taken with the hope that some will be usable. Popsys argues that this abundance can dilute a photographer's focus and commitment to capturing a moment perfectly. By imposing restrictions on himself, he explores whether these constraints enhance his concentration and lead to more deliberate and meaningful photography. The video serves as an intriguing case study on the impact of self-imposed limitations on creative output and the quality of photographic work.

The venture to Coney Island in the middle of January, with its deserted landscapes and dystopian vibe, provided an ideal backdrop for this experiment. Popsys’ reflections on the day reveal a mixed bag of outcomes. While he felt a heightened sense of concentration and discernment in his photography, the experiment also introduced a hesitancy to press the shutter, fearing the imperfection of the result. This hesitancy, Popsys notes, could be counterproductive in the realm of digital photography, where the cost of taking an extra photo is negligible. His experience underscores the delicate balance between being overly critical and the freedom to capture moments without fear, suggesting a middle path that fosters focus without stifling spontaneity. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Popsys.

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

Log in or register to post comments
1 Comment

I enjoyed that post a lot. I went to Coney Island many times in the 60s when I was a kid. My mom drove us in from Connecticut. She was fearless.

But no pictures of the Cyclone? Have you no sense of history? You gotta go back. Do the Cyclone, the emblematic ride of Coney Island.