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Passage of Time

Which photograph is the best?

The passage of time makes judging easier and more effective.

Garry Winogrand used the passage of time to edit.

Photography editor Mason Resnick took a workshop with the street photographer.

He [Garry Winogrand] never developed film right after shooting it.

He deliberately waited a year or two, so he would have virtually no memory of the act of taking an individual photograph.

This, he claimed made it easier for him to approach his contact sheets more critically.

"If I was in a good mood when I was shooting one day, then developed the film right away," he told us, I might choose a picture because I remember how good I felt when I took it, not necessarily because it was a great shot.

You make better choices if you approach your contact sheets cold, separating the editing from the picture taking as much as possible.1

The emotional charge of taking the photograph fades with time.

You need to use emotion for judgment.

For example, see Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain by Antonio R. Damasio.

However, a fading of some of the emotion may allow cognition to enter the editing debate as well.


Go to What's a Good Photograph?.

1 Resnick, M. (1988, July). Coffee and workprints: A workshop with Garry Winogrand. Modern Photography,