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Test print photographed with iPhone on pin-board, Collaroy, 2021
Duffys Wharf, Pittwater

A few weeks ago, I posted a photo taken within 10 kilometres of home as the Sydney Covid lock down began. Well, the good news is we didn't have a bunch of demonstrators in the city this weekend (and isn't it interesting to learn these sensible fanatics had been encouraged by a European group that wasn't putting their own liberty on the line). The bad news is this lock down is likely to go on for quite some time, so if you have freedom of movement at the moment, enjoy it!

Actually, I'm quite comfortable in lock down. While life is completely different (i.e. no travel), lock down isn't as bad as isolation which I enjoyed 15 months ago. Everything is relative. And so are photographs.

The photo above is of a print stuck to my pin board in the office. It is opposite my desk, in full view. When someone rings me up to have a chat, like Tony Hewitt wondering if we will ever get over to Middlehurst this year, or David Oliver asking when he has to start judging the Better Photography Photo of the Year competition, and they start to drone on a little, I walk around my desk and look at the print more closely. I study it. "Yes, Tony, any day now. No, David, I have to prepare things first." And I have a pencil which sits balanced on two thumb pins so I can write a few notes on the print itself. What to change, what to rework, what to improve. This is a test print. It is designed to be written on.

For me, living with a photograph for a period of time is an essential part of the photographic process. And it never ceases to amaze me that even after spending hours and hours on a file, this process reveals even more insights for improving the finished product.

Now, I know when you compare the small screen files you have before, the work print above with the final file below, the differences don't appear huge, but when you're looking at an A2 print (or larger), these changes and improvements are so important. Others might not notice, but if you do, that's reason enough to fix things. Enjoy your photography, wherever you may be!

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