Three Choices…






3From time to time I will throw up here two or three frames where I just cannot make a decision and curious to what you think. I often shoot several frames of exactly or almost exactly the same moment. Tiny differences even though basically the same picture. Sketches.Which one?

I have already made up my mind, and this audience will not influence my decision, but I am just curious how you choose.

40 Responses to “Three Choices…”

  • The third in the series is doing it for me.

  • In the second image I like the expression of the guy on the right and the other guy appearing just over the letter “B”; but I am not convinced by Candy staring right at you…in this respect, the third one is better since it seems that the whole action is contained behind the window. Also your reflection is less prominent (and less resembling a head profile than in the two previous one, which added some mystery). In synthesis, #3 for me but not fully satisfied as it always happens when you have multiple choices…

  • Image three. If there’s more “stuff” or background noise people walking around what have you plus a little less awkward expression in image one then that’d be my pick. Image two has some weirdness to it that would initially cause me to not pick it but at the same time I could see how it might fit into a certain aesthetic just on a different plane than I function on right now!

  • I would say none of them
    ..but if I ‘had’ to use one it would be between 2 and 3. 1 is a non starter.
    2 has nicer mirror reflections and a bit of isolation so I would go for that.
    but seriously I cannot see the strength of any of these on their own.
    Maybe as part of a larger narrative.

  • #1 is cutest dog picture though.

  • #3 nails it. It looks the least constructed.
    #1 nice, but looks more like a planned portrait.
    #2 not bad, but Candy looks quite disconnected, like placed there.

  • At first I was certain about 3, but 2 is growing at me. So now I don’t know…

  • I love this kind of shot – window as mask. Prefer #2. There is room for the imagination in Candy & the background figure looking at the viewer/photographer – relationship. In #3, the orange clad figure is distracting to me & interferes with depth. The expressions in #1 & #3 both look a bit Jeff Wall posed. Paul

  • Number 1 echoes most closely Manet’s “A Bar at the Folies-Bergère”. Candy has the same distracted, bored and aloof expression as Eduard’s bartender, so from a position of appreciating the historical connection of photography, and knowing your love for the masters, this is my favourite.

    However, this is an essay about family, and the family snap genre generally contains the engaged portrait, with the subjects’ gaze directed at the camera. I noticed this first in Candy’s sunset portrait. It’s something that was totally absent from the Rio workshop uploads, but not entirely in “Based On A True Story”. You are the type of photographer who I think goes out of their way to capture the disengaged-from-the-lens portrait, and is now wisely incorporating the direct-view into this work. In that sense, number 1 could be excluded, replaced by number 2.

    Tough decision.

  • I lean towards number 3
    I like the eye contact between Candy and the other person.

    Through processing,though, I would try to minimize the reflection of your
    arm and the camera

  • 1 -I liked initially bc I thought maybe she was just realizing you were out there and has a little spontaneity to it
    2 -has an awkward feeling for me in her body position, and
    3 – won out for me bc of the eye contact as well and she seems engaged with her moment.
    I don’t mind your reflection in there.

    …well, now that I go back an look again I am torn with #2 after all.
    There’s a nice conjunction of all 3 people in the frame.
    I’m changing to #2

  • I would go with #3 for reasons others above have cited.
    After looking through them several times, although there are individual elements I like in both 1 and 2, #3 just came together better as a more anchored picture.
    This kind of having to choose between very similar pictures (only three in this case!) happens a lot now in the digital age… sometimes what appears to be a difficult choice will resolve itself if one just puts it down and comes back a bit later…
    On the other hand, I’ve often had the experience of coming back a year or more later and being appalled at an editing choice I made too soon after taking a series… “What was I thinking?”

  • #2
    i like the guy in the background
    the line of the arms….

  • Seem to be more details in the first two – I like looking at images and seeing new bits each time. Like the guy holding beer, the dog’s eye, guy in hoody scratching his nose or something. Think Candy’s expression in second does look slightly awkward but actually I quite like that – she’s looking at you and not the camera in the mirror… more of an acknowledgement that you’re all in the trip together maybe.

  • I’m with Gladdy on the first part, but #1, easily, if I had to choose.

    So what were you doing? Waiting for different guys to walk past the door? Worked best in #1.

  • Hmm, you will do better. Three for the first cut though.

  • Though I hate to lose the beer in the letter B, I think 3 is the strongest image with the Candy looking and the dude with the beer.

  • #2 precisely because of what Jeff Hladun says.
    I’m thinking more “off for a family drive”

  • #2 gets my vote.

    One fellow has turned away from her in exasperation, another one is already waiting in the wings, Candy is confused.

  • I am really enjoying these ‘process’ posts. They are a very unique glimpse into the workflow and thinking of a great photographer. Kudos for having the stones to make the process this transparent.

  • I can’t decide between #2 and #3. In #2, the figure in the background adds to the shot. He looks like he’s keeping an eye on the woman, and the foreground figure is interesting with the hand-to-mouth gesture. The center woman becomes much more interesting in #3 though, looking unenthused at the bloke in front. If you don’t mind bending the truth and combining #2 and #3, the story of her being hit on while the background figure watches could be an interesting story. I’d merge them.


    well amigo, part of a larger narrative is what i am doing…i would not see this as a collector print of course….and i am not married to this scene…it may find its way into this scrapbook and it may not….right now i am totally in the formative stages….we are plastering all over the walls of the van all the snaps from along the way…the whole project could fail…isn’t that the point? to risk it all? all safety nets gone….only high risk will lead to the best work…and the worst work as well!!!


    this essay is about Family Drive not necessarily literally “family” in every picture…of course this trip is about our moving family….by the way, my choice has been #2 all along…of course one of the reasons we photogs end up with choices like this is that each one has something we wish the other one had…so always a picture choice tends to be a compromise….nothing ever ends up exactly perfect..unless you paint instead of photograph… i try to get as close as i can, knowing full well i will never be 100% satisfied…a level of acceptance must be found of course and one can only get this level up as high as possible….nice to have you here with us Jeff…i sure enjoyed spending time with you at Look3….you are a great thinker….and a nice guy…good combo….

    cheers, david

  • MW

    i was just playing a game of 8 ball…folks were just moving around normally….



  • @ DAH:

    Picture #3 is the one I pick up.
    Candy is thinking about something someone, looking at the ceiling… I Like the expression in her face. I will also cropped it, I will take away the left side, with you shooting through the glass anf therefore make the person look bigger and more important.
    That’s my humble point of view, but in this kind of art, there are no rules…

    Wander safe.

  • i like 2 and 3 but i have to say that in #3 candy looks better and the dog is looking at her witch i like just for candy hahaha but that just personal i think, loving you trip so far!!!
    miss you



  • Definitely it’s N*3. Candy is far more relaxed and doesn’t seem as uncomfortable standing just there as the other image.

  • David…

    I’ve always been fascinated by William Eggleston’s ruthless rule where he only ever takes ONE picture. If he gets something good, all is great and if he screws up or misses the “moment” it’s hard luck and keep on and forget.

  • Well, this raises the question of judgment of which picture is “good” and which one isn’t.

    Is it ever possible to get 100% agreement on any one image, even among Magnum members?

  • Editing this type of series of pics is always my worst nightmare…. Half a dozen variations and trying to decide which is best; too much choice is a pain in the butt for me! :-)

  • I just thought it might be telling that there was a different person framed in the same doorway in all the shots. I know you teach the wisdom of sometimes staying in the same spot until the different elements of the composition come together.

  • I love the connection between the eyes with Candy and the guy and the yellow fleece in number three. Also, her posture seems to follow along the line of the ‘A’ in the sign and that has a pleasing effect I think.

  • I’d go with number 3 coz that’s my new yellow Patagonia jacket ( a gift right from the heart of Patagonia headquarters in Ventura Cali;)

  • Oh ! 3 also features my Barcelona FCB hat I got in Mexico City..
    Watch Messi for me in 4 hours from now coz ill most probably be driving LA TORTUGA ;)

  • For me the picture 2… Because Candy look David who take the picture, the man behind Candy look her, I like the hand with beer in letter B and the man in the left who look the off camera (out of frame maybe? comment dit-on “hors champ/hors cadre”?)…

  • PAUL

    well that just seems a gratuitous philosophy to me…or, only works with “still life” photographers as is Eggleston…i am an Eggleston fan..yet, my big question is “why?”…what would be the point? i will say that many of the very best frames i end up with are very often single frames, but sketching and tweaking has been the role of artists for centuries…having said this, my early family album is one picture per situation as Eggleston does…yet that was surely because i had basically two or three rolls of film per year to work with…i think if you read how Eggleston became Eggleston, it will give you an indicator of why he might have this philosophy….for sure even the three pics here are in my mind “one picture”…and if you did not see the other two , then you might not miss them…for sure everyone gets themselves psyched up in a different way….and for sure if Eggleston only wants to take one and move on then cool….however honestly, for me, Eggleston has very few really fine pictures…the great ones are great and yet he really does not have a super large body of work….we just saw a retro of his in L.A. and the icons were amazing and the rest, well you needed to know it was Eggleston otherwise i doubt anyone would really choose most of the pictures …no matter…there is no way to doubt the Eggleston power in the history of photography….he was anointed early by Szarkowski as a reaction in the opposite direction of Steichen at MOMA…so he is the progenitor of a whole movement…still, look at the contact sheets that many of the greatest pictures come from and you will see most “evolved” from sketching first…even the single one off pictures were evolutionary in nature….yet whatever works, works…


    i chose #2 mostly because of the man in the doorway behind as you point out….still this is an exercise…i doubt this picture will in the long run make it….

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