I was revisiting my photographs that I took at Brierfield Mill in 2016 for a potential image sale, and I came across these that I took. I’d ‘starred’ them in my Lightroom catalog but had never processed them so, five years on, I thought it was about time.
I’m told that although they were removed before renovation began, they broke in storage. I don’t know if that was all or just some of them but it’s a terrible shame as they were lovely. I took photos of seven, but I’m not sure if there was an eighth one or whether it was too hard to photograph due to reflections, etc.
This is one of the beauties of revisiting photographs from a few years back and it’s something I try to do every few years, for several reasons:
1) You’re not looking at them with the same eyes that took them. It’s a bit like the second half of the quote attributed to Heraclitus -“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man” – for although the scene and the photograph of it hasn’t changed, you have. You will be in a different mood or mindset to the one that you took the photograph, you will have seen many other photographs since then and – like it or not – been influenced by them, your appreciation of imagery and tastes will have evolved, and many other factors.
I also find that sometimes I process images differently. I’m currently exploring a different style of processing which is much higher contrast and doesn’t bother with the dark gloomy skies that I often favour. In so doing, this opens up options for photographs that I’d previously rejected, for instance this one I took the same day at Brierfield Mill and that I’d never done anything with.
I find that if I’ve taken a lot of photographs of a place, it can be overwhelming to look at them all and make definitive judgements on them. I often do a breeze through in Lightroom and give each image a 1-5 rating, then filter out just the 4’s and 5’s and look for the best ones, then do some edits. I will post a selection of these on my blog etc and write about them while the place is still reasonably fresh in my mind. I’ll only delete the images that are either accidental or have unrecoverable technical faults, e.g. camera shake, etc. The rest I will leave to revisit in the future.
2) Improved skill set. Unless you do the absolute bare minimum of post processing, through practice your skills will likely have improved, and you can now get more out of the photograph than you could when you first took it.
3) Improved tools. OK, I’m not sure about the wet darkroom these days, but certainly the digital tools are improving all the time. I’m not suggesting there’s quantum leaps that can convert the proverbial sow’s ear into a silk purse, but still, the incremental improvements can, when combined with the previous two reasons, can make a difference.
Obviously all this only really applies if you shoot raw files or film (and process in the darkroom). If you prefer to shoot JPEG and you’re happy with the processing the camera does (or do a little tweaking in post-processing), then that’s absolutely fine, but it’s still worth revisiting older images for the reasons I explained in 1).