I was downstairs at 0730 for breakfast this morning so as to be in the classroom with Joe to go through my photos at 0800. I gave him twenty-five shots to whittle down – in the role of photo-editor – to eight final "selects". It was an interesting exercise. Jay Maisel says that for photographers "editing is next to godliness" and Joe had told us yesterday that a good edit involves cutting good pictures. It was quite something to watch a master apply his approach to editing to my work.
I had no complaints. He ruthlessly cut my favourite shot because it was just not sharp enough to survive. He could see why I liked it and agreed it would have been a perfect part of my story, but it just didn't make the cut. It's not what a photo means to the photographer who was there when it was made, but what it says to a viewer who wasn't.
My classmates went through the same exercise between 0800 and 1000, when Joe replayed the edits on the big screen for all our benefits. We had seen most of the pictures before during the critiques in this week's classes but it was different to see them together as part of a photographer's chosen story. It was also fascinating to see what a place I love and know well means to my classmates.
We then headed off to lunch at a beach restaurant. That was "my" South of France; the one I have known for decades. Sitting there with great food and a breeze off the Mediterranean it felt very different from the place I have been slogging around on on a photographic mission for a week!
We returned to class to view the video Ari Espay, one of our faculty, had made of our work. He stitched together all our "photo-essays" and threw in a "grab bag" of good photos that didn't serve our stories. When I receive my copy I will host it here and post a link.
We went on from there to a "farewell dinner" at a local restaurant. Most of us are heading out tomorrow bright and early so this really was goodbye to a group of people made friends by a fascinating shared experience.