I’m not a photographer, not by any stretch of the imagination, but I’m still going to talk as if I know what I’m talking about because, well, I do. I don’t have much hands on experience, but so what. I don’t think I need much to be able to say this: photography has a lot in common with writing. A photographer goes out looking for something to capture, experimenting with light, speed settings, whatever else their fancy little camera’s do. Writers? They go looking within and draw on all the things they remember, know, and feel. They go inward looking for something to capture.
What’s more, not all writings are going to be worth keeping. I could be wrong but it seems that an artist can take dozens or even hundreds of pictures of the same image. Then they go through them and choose which are better and which can be discarded – or at least set aside. Drafts are the most obvious comparison I guess, I mean it’s one I’ve seen people talk about on more than one occasion, but that’s not really the similarity I’d point out. It’s actually the finished pieces. Sometimes I churn out a bunch of different versions of one event, one scene, or whatever.
I revisit it, rewrite from scratch, and am left with a bunch of different angles of the same image.
I have to sift through and find which ones best represent the story and what I want to do with it. I have to figure out which of these fit together, and how. I got to thinking about this because of music. Somebody wrote a post about a musicians unreleased music and how a lot of it made its way to the internet even though it was judged by its creator to be to personal or not ready for public consumption. Apparently the guy did a bunch of songs that were never released, did 50 for his last (unfinished) album before dying, and even though it was released posthumously…
It still only ended up with 15 tracks.
Got me thinking about how prolific a lot of my favorite writers are, how much more they probably write beyond what we see in the books they publish. You’ve gotta figure just with those finished books a lot of ’em had to be longer. That’s generally the way it works, you write it all out and cut it down to size, trim the fat off of it. Make it lean and strong. Filmmakers do it too. All those different cameras recording from different angles, only a fraction of them used in the final product.
To me what that says is…
Art is art.
Across the board whatever the forms it might take, it’s all art.