One thing I’ve only really touched on in my previous posts is image selection. I mentioned in my first post that I had a much smaller body of work to choose from than previous exhibitions due to the exhibition covering just two mills. And although Bailey Mill remains one of my favourite explores from a photographic perspective, Wellington Mill was not the most interesting. Partly this is because I explored Bailey on my own and Wellington with 4 others – I ‘see’ better on my own for the most part. Lastly, these images were taken in 2007, very early in my ‘career’ and with a Nikon D70 that by today’s standards is antideluvian in terms of noise handling, dynamic range, etc. Oh to return with my D810!!
Still, those were the cards I had been dealt, so I had to play them. My first choice was whether to go with my usual black and white or try colour. I wrestled with this for several weeks, before opting for black and white. My reasoning here was twofold in that I regard myself as a black and white photographer, but also that I like the tonal uniformity of an exhibition of monochome prints in white mounts and black frames. I don’t regard myself as a slave to convention, if anything I’m the opposite, but I just think it looks ‘right’ somehow.
The Bailey Mill files in Lightroom
Some images were obvious choices as I had used them before in previous exhibitions, and my Shadows of the North book. But once those were accounted or, what then? I had to attempt to put my ego aside and stop looking at these as a photographer. What other images added to the story? Much as I wanted to just show what I felt were my best images, I had to complement these with others that told different parts of the same story.
So I had to revisit each of the images from my visits in Lightroom and re-evaluate them. Eventually, enough images emerged that were either of a decent enough aesthetic quality and / or showed a different facet of what I’d seen. Some required quite a lot of work to bring them up to scratch, most notably those where the dynamic range of the sensor had not recorded sufficient highlight detail in skies and windows etc. It something that we take for granted now, and I later compensated for by using a tripod and bracketing images, but back in 2007, my technique and technical standards were not what they are now! But this is looking at things from the standpoint of a photographer, most people who see the images will probably not care less.
I won’t pretend that there is some big idea behind the exhibition. This is simply about two empty mills and their place in the local landscape.
The long list selection as a Lightroom Collection