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  • Writer's pictureAustin Harter

Recycling Creativity - New Purpose for Unused Images

I shoot a lot. Every day, in fact. I capture what interests my eye. It could be shapes, light, shadow, private moments - anything that causes my eyes to pause. Sadly, I'm not as quick on the draw as I'd like. Whether I shoot for myself or commissions for clients, there are always loads of unused images. Some are just as good as the final deliverables, and others… well, honestly, why I never delete those is beyond me. I digress.

There are always a few images as good as the final selects, but no one needs that many total images to review. Logic says delete those bad boys, yet still, they remain on hard drives taking up space, and something won't let me part with them. Occasionally, I find new purpose for old, unused images, which give me opportunities to give new life to the passed-over. Those forgotten images provide canvases to practice post-production techniques.

portrait of a dark skinned man wearing gold necklaces in colored light
rhythm & tone

A recent shoot for a musician in my area produced a few keepers that never entirely made it to the light of day. I enjoyed my initial edit but felt it was missing something. Was it the quality of the final image, the overall look, the lighting off, or the wrong exposure? I couldn't put my finger on it. I set them aside and moved on, intending to come back to it with some inspiration. Honestly, life took hold, and I forgot.

Pop art, comics, and fantasy concepts seem to pique my interest. I've been recently attracted to expressive, bold imagery with bright colors and strong energy. However, I have not truly ventured down that avenue before in my personal work. I think the styles intimidated me. Boldly, I decided to tackle something outside of my comfort zone. (I say "boldly," but it was really less impressive than the word implies.) The unused images popped into my mind, and I immediately had ideas for experimenting. And VIOLA! I found some inspiration and motivation. I'm pleased with the final result. It got my brain working and challenged me to explore. Now I want to plan a shoot with this style in mind.


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