I have just completed ‘the big edit’ with Victoria Forrest, who is designing my book. I knew I was going to write about this process. Working with someone else on an edit is still relatively new to me. It’s only the third time I’ve worked in this way. So much of the time photographers work alone and the edit becomes a series of your favourite shots. There is so much more to the process – it can transform the work, take it in different directions with other meanings, and in this case translate it into the book format. Unless you have worked in this way the process remains a bit of a mystery.
I started by sending Victoria all 2,802 files in total. She got this down to her larger edit of 196. I then added 8 back in, and from that she prepared a provisional edit of 60 images. Victoria sent this to me the week before our session, so I had the time to digest the work she had done. And I needed that time. I get fixed on how my work should be and I need time to help me to readjust. When I received her provisional edit I liked how she had ordered the work. She had given it structure. I had been lost in it. However it was still a big shift and that week helped me to make the adjustment.
On the day we worked together, the structure remained, we tweeked the beginning sequence, making it stronger. She worked from top to bottom – not left to right, as I feel inclined to do. We kept most of the double pages, as I could see that together these images became stronger – even though I had always thought these portraits in particular needed the space of a single page. I really tried to listen. Victoria is very skilled at editing – she knows much more than I do. She has many systems to pull from. She is quick too. It was a balance between listening and remembering what I needed to say. I had to ensure my message came across. The main change I wanted was to make the edit more political, to crank it up. I want to be heard loud and clearly understood. We changed the mega pink section to reflect this and I was happier.
So for now the edit is 90% complete. I need to live with it for a bit longer. The ending still needs a bit of work. For the longest time I have wanted to complete this project. To draw a line under it and to get it out there. Now I am so close to this, but I can’t stop just yet. I have three more ideas in my head that I need to get down onto film. Then I’ll feel that I can finalise the edit, whether we use them or not.
Above are some shots from the edit session and below one of the important photographs that I am saying goodbye to…