Monday, November 28, 2011


A big parcel arrived this morning, as is often the case it came from my sister.  It occurred to me that the whole business of  monetary exchange and consumption, of acquiring stuff in general, is possibly a manipulated surrogate for the giving and receiving of gifts; we seek to achieve the same warmth we feel when we give or receive with love by exchanging money and giving to ourselves, feeding a craving which can only remain unsatisfied.

On the other hand it can be very nice to treat yourself, and the wrong present given in a spirit of dull obligation without love or discernment is a sorry thing, so perhaps I'm talking bollocks.

To return to the parcel; it contained, among other things: a white elephant tea cosy and two black bird coffee cosies; saffron, argan oil, nigella seeds and almond skin cream that smells of marzipan from Morocco; and a CD of just short of 200 photos of that country and a request that if I could manage it, could I edit them and get them printed as Moo postcards.   I've done this before for my sister's holiday photos; she was a bit apologetic this time, fearing that, she felt, the photos weren't very good and perhaps I couldn't make much of them ... She has quite an old and simple compact, and was not, I got the feeling, as stimulated and relaxed on this trip as on others, so the photos were quite patchy, but well worth sifting, cleaning up and trimming.

And it just so happened that Moo had sent out an e-mail that their 30% off everything sale was closing at midnight tonight, so the job was on to get sixty images sorted out in the space of today.

Bliss and joy.  I love editing photos, and consequently feel it's an unjustifiable self-indulgence that I don't deserve to spend too much time on.  However, doing it for love for someone else, who has made and done endless lovely things for us, with a serious money-saving deadline to boot, allowed me to spend every available moment on it today.

I'm sure this ought to be something one could do for money.  People have taken on board the idea that digital photography allows them to snap away with total abandon in pursuit of one good shot out of many, but often underestimate the time and effort this scattergun approach requires in editing.  How often have you heard people groan about being subjected to other people's endless unedited holiday photos?

But going through them and sorting out the better ones, touching out the odd unwanted lamp post or electricity cable and cropping off the fat bald strangers wandering through the shot, brightening the pictures up, and snipping bits and pieces out of even the least interesting of them to make into patchwork collages, makes this potentially frustrating and passive experience a satisfying one.  I started off finding this rather muddled welter of images of Morocco quite off-putting, but by the end I felt I had shared something of it and enjoyed it.

However, I know my sister's eye and understand a little of what matters to her, and I don't mind taking a lot of time and trouble over it. I'm not sure I could do the same for strangers' snaps of themselves getting drunk and sunburned on beaches on the Maldives.  Sorry, I know that sounds horribly judgemental.

Anyway, here's a handful of them.  Not my photos, just my editing.


marja-leena said...

These are lovely. I'm sure your sister has a good eye, judging by these, even if you say you have improved on them,

Somewhat related... I have scanned a tiny wrinkled sepia photo of husband and his two sisters from 1952 which I plan to 'fix' up and print for them.

Rouchswalwe said...

These images remind me that I've not been to that part of world. But I find myself intrigued. Great teamwork between sisters! My plans this winter include scanning old photos and finally putting together a draft of the family history. It is fulfilling to work on photographs that mean something. I'm no certain I could ever do it for a living.

the polish chick said...

lovely pictures. i agree with your comment about looking at people's unedited photos. they seem to go on a trip (which we do), take endless photos (which we also do) and then dump them all on facebook or an online album (which we most emphatically don't do).

i love taking lots of shots but only a select few make it to my album. shots of the road through a bug-splattered windshield are rarely worth anybody's time or effort.

love that second shot.

Catalyst said...

My favorite is the first one. Whether to credit the shooter or the editor, I think it's a masterwork.

earlybird said...

I think you answered your own question... you could do it for money but it's better/easier for love!

Love the tiles and shapes in the patchwork/collage.

rr said...

What you say about gifts is bang on the, er, money. And then there's the giving of the gift the delight of which you entirely exemplify with your editing. It's one of the reasons I love knitting stuff for people - it makes *me* feel good. There's a great episode of Radiolab about gift giving and receiving.

Julia said...

Editing is an art, and you definitely have the eye for it. It's always satisfying to see how much a crop here and an adjustment there can turn an ok picture into something to write home about (or to write home on, as the case may be ;).

Unknown said...

Nun with the baby is brilliant. Congratulations are due on all of them to photographer and editor.