And as usual, someone watching me… repost!

The image above is mine. The words are William Klein’s but I can certainly identify with them . He says this in an amazing contact sheet analysis film I’ve included below.

Everyone with an interest in photography should watch it and should look on YouTube for other contact sheet discussions by photographers like Sebastião Salgado and Josef Koudelka.

As always, thank you for looking.


  1. Marvelous! Thanks for sharing this, I know what to go looking for on YouTube. And now I know I only need to capture one or two seconds of the rest of my life 🙂

  2. Donald, this was such a treat and it reminds of the potcasts that used to be presented on the Magnum site. I could spend hours on watching film like this with the photographer explaining his own work at the same time. And…your image up here…is really good, not that I am an expert but there is a non verbal tension of some sort, whitch makes you look longer then you normally do. The guy in the middle is just to much!
    p.s. William Klein…what a nice voice

  3. The video is amazing, I am still thinking about how it can relate to drawing, in which you also have many moments and you choose a final one, but it always encloses different moments together.

    1. Oh you should see the one by Josef Koudelka. And Salgado’s. I posted this one because he has a great voice and perspective in general that I think comes out. And it’s a common situation for me that there’s like one person who is staring intently at me while I shoot… so it struck a nerve when he said that.

      But more to your point of choices in drawing or painting.. is the idea that… for these great photographers… you know… ‘the’ picture, amongst many taken, jumps out to Klein and to all of these other photographers. That’s kind of the unifying theme of all the contact sheet videos. Many times that shutter button is pressed, but that, and only if you’re very fortunate, leads to that one (or a small series) that has the grouping of elements, the oddity, the uniqueness, ethereal qualities, etc. that make that frame the obvious choice.

      Now I would say for the painter… uh… that all should be so easily accomplished. 😉 Yes. I’m kidding. But you know, I can’t paint or draw, but very often I look at shots and imagine or dream that things are arranged more to my liking. But I think what is different about what I do and what say a National Geographic photographer does is that I’m not carefully selecting a back scene for its strong or even spectacular compositional elements and then WAITING for people or other things to come into the frame and for them to be in the exact position, etc. The brightly attired peasant women carrying clay water jugs on their heads or spreading the grain while their exotic headdresses flow in the wind… or any number of the myriad shadow or reflection compositions you see posted online in street photography that makes you just gasp at first but never really want to look at again.

      I’ve never even really appreciated that kind of photography. Nat Geo, etc. Never. Give me Life Magazine, Time, or, when I was a kid, an anthropology or sociology text book.

      Anyway. I’m rambling now. There’s a lot of bloggers promoting a certain type of approach to shooting that has worked for a number of great or famous photographers that certainly can open up the minds of shooters to a different and more careful approach to producing worthwhile images. But I believe or am interested in a far more fluid or spontaneous type of photography and results so I can only do what I want to do to achieve what I want. But these contact sheet videos I think demonstrate how shooters who fire off a lot of shots work to get that one great frame and I think the method and the results of these kinds of photographers is really more in tuned with what I’m about as a photographer than say your National Geographic photographer’s thought process.

      I certainly have a desire for strong compositions but I believe in myself and that I can or should find those compositions quickly, the best choices, and I like being in situations where everything is moving fast and I have to just apply what I can and hope for the best.

      I’m actually kind of put off by photography that shows too heavy or dramatic of a hand involved in obsessing over a perfect or flawless composition. It’s like the aesthetic aversion someone might feel when you see a film director back in the 1980s, and there were many of them, who were way too obvious in their obsession with Hitchcockian film angles that scream… SUSPENSE… etc. It’s just too much. Perfect images are like perfect sunset shots. Even if they are of war or strife… even maybe ESPECIALLY if they are of war or strife. They call way too much attention to themselves and the God awful self-indulgence/importance of the photographer.

      Boy I’m really rambling. Sorry! I should just repurpose this as a post.

  4. I took some time to read your reply… ;), for which I want to thank you very much! You should use it as a post, that would be nice hey! 🙂

    Well, I found it rather confusing to think that some photographers just like to take really ‘endless’ shots on one particular topic, just to see if there is a nice one in between, as I have always thought that good photographers just choose from the beginning. But sure there is something in between. When it comes to drawing you can (and even have to) mix many moments, even if it looks like one, unless you draw from a (only one) photgraph.
    You wrote “I’m actually kind of put off by photography that shows too heavy or dramatic of a hand involved in obsessing over a perfect or flawless composition”. Yes, I know what you mean. The perfection is not always in the hand (and techniques) involved. Bye Donald!

    1. Well, I better not comment too much here or my post will get really long. A serious problem I have. Thank you again, Rosa!

      Just one thought. I’ve found in my life many times that the experience of watching one of my icons doing what they do, after years of just enjoying the product of their work without even knowing what they look like let alone how they work… is a great topic all to itself. Shocking and even disorienting. The jazz guitarist Wes Montgomery being the best example. But there are others and one very iconic photography, Garry Winogrande, not particularly a favorite of mine, but obviously a great photographer, is an example from, obviously, uh… photography. Okay. Sleepy time.

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