Photographic time capsule

Remembering a year is fascinating…

If you were to choose five pictures you have made this year to go into a time capsule which would they be? It may be a difficult choice, but it helps you think about a portfolio. It is a fun idea to remember what you achieved this year too. Here are a few things to guide you.
 
A wise photographer once said…

Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.

• Ansel Adams

Creating your time capsule

The capsule: I create a folder each year and put in a copy of my stand-outs for that year. Then I have a historical record of my development as well as a profile of my best work. Once it is sealed never change it. Your view of your work will change, so it is useful to look back. It is your legacy. You can change a portfolio as many times as you want. You cannot change your view as it was in the past. So keep your portfolio in a separate folder. These annual time capsules are your history.

How many? For an experienced and mature photographer twelve photographs does not seem a lot for a whole year. A really special image is a rare thing. For photographers who are just starting out it may be better to find just a few really special photographs for your first few years. After that you can expand your time capsule. In year one find your three best shots. In year two find five; year three, eight. Then in year four, ten will be good. In year five find 12 photographs that are real stand-outs.

Be ruthless: Many photographers will tell you that being a good editor of your own work is one of the ways to mature as a photographer. I agree. Try and be as ruthless with your work as you can. Publish only the photographs you are proud of. The others should be retained and used for self development and reappraisal in future. It is not always the technically perfect photographs that are the best. Consider the ones that really express your passion. Sometimes, maybe often, passion trumps technique. If your work is going that way don’t be afraid to publish. Express yourself first – the technique will follow later.

The one! In every year there should be one photograph that you consider your best. It will be a passionate expression of your self through photography. You will know which one it is. You will also know why it is your best. So, put that one in your folder and name the file so you know in future which one it is. Sometimes I write a little explanatory document to go with it so I can remind myself how I felt about it for the future.

Thats it!

In future years you may look back and cringe, you may be surprised, you should be proud. Whatever you do, it will be a learning experience. So try it out and next year you will benefit from looking back.

So which are they then?

OK, I hear you asking which are my time capsule shots this year. I cannot publish some – as they are shot for work. Others I cannot publish without permission. So my hands are tied. Here are three links to photos which I have published. They are photographs that I have included in my time capsule for this year and the reasons why…

The best picture expressing my feeling for a location (Victoria and Albert Museum, London): • Coming and Going •

The most successful picture taken out of my comfort zone: • Natural Curves •  External link - opens new tab/page

My most popular published photograph: • Swan •  External link - opens new tab/page

And now its your turn!

Why not put a link to the best picture you have taken this year. Put the link in the comments boxes below. I will publish a selection of the best ones next week. I look forward to seeing your best work!

By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.
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4 responses to “Photographic time capsule

  1. I agree with Ann. At one point I was going to display each and every one of my photos in a time capsule album. But recently have decided to do only my special favorites whether any one else liked them or not 😉 You have such great ideas here and have saved all your posts to review when I have more time.

  2. I like this idea Damon. In a way I have done it while photoscrapbooking. In the beginning I would put a lot of photographs in the book. But now they have shrunk substantially and I am “ruthless” in my choices. Good article!

    • Damon (Editor)

      Hi Ann, Thanks for the feedback. It is a great way to learn in the future too. Thanks for commenting.
      Damon