The Link Between Photography and Editing
First I want to say that photography is just something I enjoy doing in my free time. And even if I like to share the pictures I take and see people’s reactions, it is not something I take seriously. Now, I’m really flattered that I’ve been asked to talk about it, but since I’ve never been asked to talk about editing, which I thought I was doing seriously, I wonder if I should consider some kind of reorientation…
I’ve always loved telling stories but I find myself quite clumsy with words. That’s probably why editing instantly felt appealing to me. It’s a long process that gives you time to think about the best way to tell a story. Somehow that suits my personality better than talking in front of an audience, for example. I also find it easier to be suggestive when using images and sounds rather than words. And that’s the kind of stories I like, the ones that don’t explain too much and give you room to put your own imagination to work.
But as much as I love editing - and I wouldn’t change my job for anything in the world - the process can sometimes wear you out. Rare are the projects that feel easy and light, and most of the time they stay with you long after you leave the editing room. That is why photography feels very complementary to me. It’s another way to tell stories and share emotions through images. But there is something very direct and spontaneous about it.
I’ve just finished the edit of a music video which had seven hours of rushes for a four-minute long track. It was a lot of fun, but in a way, you have to choose which of the 604,800 photographs are the best, and then you have to find a way to make them work together. Knowing that, you will easily understand how pure and simple photography can feel.
Most of the time you don’t really think when you take a picture, it’s kind of subconscious. Everything goes really fast and you are so focused that you almost reach a state of meditation. And it’s only when you see the picture developed that you realise all the things you were trying to say at that very moment. It’s almost as fascinating to me to discover the scans than to take the picture itself. There are so many details you don’t remember thinking about and also so many you didn’t even notice at that time. That’s also one of the reasons I still only shoot film. There is nothing like the magic of going to the lab and discovering what’s exposed on the negative.
The link between photography and editing is kind of obvious. Even if other parameters like motion, dialogues, camera movement, rhythm, sounds, etc… come into play, the basic rules of photography still apply. And probably every editor is a sleeping photographer. Having to constantly judge images inevitably sharpens your photographic eye. And I would definitely recommend to any young editor to learn as much about the history of photography as they do the history of cinema.
Even if I have been taking pictures for fun for a while now, moving from Europe to California three years ago was definitely a trigger to raise my game, and my Instagram feed clearly benefited from it. Los Angeles, California and the whole American West are so inspiring to me. Everything is so filmic and different here. As soon as I have time, I try to take my camera, hit the road and explore. Sometimes I even fantasise about the idea of taking a break from the dark room (the editing one) and travelling for a couple of years just to take pictures.
Martin Leroy is an editor at Whitehouse Post. Click here to view more of his amazing photography.
Genre: Photography , Strategy/Insight