Friday, June 25, 2010

Is it really all about the edit?

Magnum Photos (@magnumphotos) recently tweeted this quote by Alec Soth:
"It's not about making good pictures anymore. Anybody can do that today - it's about good edits..."

I posted this quote to Fraction Facebook page and it's been getting more than a few comments, which is a very good thing.  See the responses here.

So what do you think?  Has technology or something else made photography so easy now that it comes down to the edit to make a great body of work?


  1. It depends on what "it" is. Is it: acquiring gallery representation? Selling prints? Having a book published? Receiving accolades from critics? Sure, are all possible with poor photographs and a clever concept.

    But if "it" is making good photographs honoring and contributing to the medium of photography, then it will always be about making good photographs.

    More of my thoughts on this subject:

  2. It seems to me Soth is responding to our society saturated with images. Traditional modes of distribution (galleries, museums, paper magazines) would deliver assumptions that the work was worth looking at. The web, on the other hand, kicks any certainty to the curb. In all likelihood self-published work (serious art attempts and snapshots alike) are not worth the time.

    The sheer mass of technically correct captures made on digital cameras, is directly and conversely proportional to the sheer lack of thoughtful or original imagery.

    Soth has pointed out the fact that our task in wading through the daily assault of imagery (while not necessarily harder) is much, much larger.

    I understand Soth words as promoting a skepticism and visual literacy that will ensure survival in a world replete with imagery. A photographer needs good editing to sustain their own work, but a photographer also needs good editing to make sense of the current decentralised and rabid culture of decontextualised images.