I have maintained that Aperture can make you a better photographer in many ways. Not only can you organize your photographic life, getting rid of the cyber-clutter (duplicate images) and ultimately have more time to shoot; but it also lets you recognize connections in your work, which can be expanded into strong collections of photographs.
This has been quite a revelation for me, and since versions add only tiny files to each album, I can experiment with endless ideas, grouping them into albums, which can blossom into full-fledged projects.
When I’m out on a shoot and I see a good picture unrelated to my current assignment, I shoot it. With Aperture, there is a place for this image; it doesn’t get filed away and forgotten.
I’ve been shooting for so long now, that I begin to see similarities in photographs I take, even if they are continents or decades apart, or even further apart in terms of subject matter. It may be the composition is similar, the light or gesture. Or maybe it’s the subject matter; shapes, faces or emotions evoked. Regardless, I sometimes get curious to see how images will play together, and from there, ideas and new bodies of work are born.
This is more than just categorizing images and putting them in a specific drawer for future consideration. This is about using Aperture to inspire you to develop ideas you can run with.
It’s so easy to create albums and experiment with these connections and ideas, it’s actually fun. And when something is fun, you don’t mind doing it. And when you start to see results, well that just feeds the fire.
The kissing couples were all taken at different times in different places, while shooting something else. But with Aperture I can now create a “kissing” album and drag all my similar pictures inside. I can play with them, move them around, seeing how the album evolves over time and find inspiration to shoot more images about love or lust. It’s a collection that eventually will grow into a new project for exhibition, or even a book someday.
I might want to toss them onto an Aperture Light table and play with sizes and order, looking for a narrative, or print them as an essay. When I’m ready, I can create a web page and email trusted mentors for advice. Or even put a book together to take around to show people.
This is one of the reasons I embraced Aperture from the start. I saw its potential for organizing my photographic life and ultimately inspiring me to become a better photographer.
Next week: Aperture as teacher.