Ever since I started to be more serial, I mean serious, about photography the question of series has occupied me. The company of photographs…
On one hand I’ve felt critical to series since it seems to be a shortcut for dilettantes; none of your photos are exiting or really interesting by themselves, but choose a “theme”, make a number of pictures around the theme, and the viewer will be more friendly in his evaluation of your ouvre.
This has made me avoid themes, and also series. Of course I have my favorite subjects (for me mainly birds), but this is something that comes from inner attraction, not a plan or worse, strategy.
However, I more and more realize that company DOES matter. Of course the best thing is to make lone wolfs, pictures that stand squarely on their own feet, need no company to support or enhance them. But then nothing need stop you from putting them in a thematic series. Everybody might benefit by a company of lone wolfs.
Another side of the coin is about perception. If you look at the output of a photographer you are probably looking at more than 1-2 pictures. You might look at 20 or even 100.
This makes the presence of “company” inevitable and leads to the question: In what order or disorder should one view the pictures? And for the photographer: In what order or disorder should I SHOW my pictures?
What I have on this site is disorder. BW and color, animals, portraits, street scenes without any order or guiding thought. And that is okay.
However, perceptually each thing seems to be influenced by what comes before and after. If I am famished a dinner will taste differently than if I had just been eating. Coming out into the sun after having been shut up in a dark room is different than if you are living with open windows all day long. Etcetera.
The same goes for pictures. And while I do want to avoid the strategic, somewhat sneaky shortcut of making my pictures look more attractive and likeable by making series, I also do not want them to look less than they are by putting them in poor (here meaning random) company.
The picture before and after might or might not harmonize with the current picture…
And this also misses out on another important thing: the elephant (as in the tale of the elephant and the blind men). Same elephant seen from different sides and angles can be not only interesting, but even illuminating. Same animal, different tail, tusk, etc. Same theme (birds), but different birds, colors, wings, compositions.
So my disorderly attitude now seems a bit unfair to the viewer, and also to the photographer. One very simple move is to simply select all the portraits and show them together, the same with birds, etc.
I just need to find a good portfolio program and might convert my site soon to a more series-friendly gallery.