There are a million ways to edit, but only 1 gut feeling

Kevin WY Lee Craft & Tools, IPA Workshops, Photography, Street Photography Leave a Comment

IPA Editing Workshop, Singapore | 25th – 26th May 2013

IPA Editing Workshop, Singapore | 25th – 26th May 2013

Notes from the IPA Editing Workshop, Singapore | May 2013


We recently conducted our first Editing Workshop in Singapore, co-tutored by Southeast Asian Curator Zhuang Wubin and myself. The participants were eager and motivated, with a diverse range of photo projects.

One of the key takeaways of the workshop was ‘Purpose’ – there are a million ways to edit and a million things to edit for; so define what you want to say or do. An edit of 50 pictures for a photo book will vastly differ from 12 photographs edited for an exhibition, for example. Likewise, an edit for an editorial spread will serve a different purpose to that of a personal slideshow on a portfolio website. Then there’s perspective – an Asian photo editor may edit with sensibilities that may differ to one from Europe.

There is also logic and emotion. Sometimes, we folks, incline towards being logical on first impressions and approach. One could argue that a logical approach is particularly common with people in Asia, perhaps because of the educational system. A logical edit naturally lends itself to linearity, which may or may not be flat, ideal. Responding to images and flow on an emotional and intuitive manner may benefit and illuminate a body of work.

Adopting which ever approach will be driven by purpose. One may go with logic or emotion, or a blend of both for that matter. Take a step back and trust your gut feel, for there is only one. But do feed that gut with sufficient insight, information and context.

SE Asia Curator Zhuang Wubin editing Christian Lam's photographs.

SE Asia Curator Zhuang Wubin editing Christian Lam’s photographs.

Indonesian photographer Dilla Djalil-Daniel editing her project on the pioneering Elephant hospital in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

Indonesian photographer Dilla Djalil-Daniel editing her project on the pioneering Elephant hospital in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

An edit sample of Christian Lam's vivid, introspective street photographs of Singapore.

An edit sample of Christian Lam’s vivid, introspective street photographs of Singapore.

A lecture and site visit to the RE-CONNECT Contemporary Myanmar Photography Exhibition at Esplanade.

A lecture and site visit to the RE-CONNECT Contemporary Myanmar Photography Exhibition at Esplanade.

Participants in a cross-editing exercise on Day 1 of the workshop.

Participants in a cross-editing exercise on Day 1 of the workshop.

Examining editing approaches in various publications.

Examining editing approaches in various publications.

Christopher Wong's photographs for an online portfolio.

Christopher Wong’s photographs for an online portfolio.

Examining editing approaches in various publications.

Examining editing approaches in various publications.

Julien Li discusses his edit and photographs of his family and from the streets of Shanghai.

Julien Li discusses his edit and photographs of his family and from the streets of Shanghai.

Big thanks to all the participants of the Editing Workshop.

Big thanks to all the participants of the Editing Workshop.

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