Start killing your darlings.

One of the rules in photography, when preparing your material, during the selection phase is not to be afraid to kill your darlings. Darlings being all the photographs that you love, and probably only you understand. 

In a professional setting, personal preference does not matter (with some exceptions). What matters is the story you want to tell and how you tell it. 

I must say, it’s a bloodbath. One of the most painful, soul-crashing experiences I’ve lived through… Well, maybe not that bad, but you get my drift. 

A common practice is to do it with an editor or a close friend photographer whom you can trust. One that will be ruthless while, at the same time, giving a fresh look and some good argumentation. Supporting you in telling your story, not theirs.

Another option is to sleep with it. Print your photographs and lay them on the table in a sequence that feels right to you. Leave them for a few hours or days, then return to do the edits. Both of those techniques can, and often are, combined.

The goal is to have a coherent story that tells what you want to convey. Something that has rhythm and leaves a mark on the viewer. 

Now, think where you get stuck and stand by ideas, beliefs or statements that may be your darlings but don’t make sense anymore. They just don’t fit the story you are pursuing. They keep you in a limbo.

Which of those darlings should you kill today?

Originally published at subscribe.konkel.co


Letter to PWST students (State Higher Theater School) by Zbigniew Herbert*

“Warsaw, 12 January 1995

Dear Strangers!

We are quite a peculiar, small, quarrelsome cluster, without which splendid humanity can perfectly do.We are a hopeless minority, and what is worse, we usurp the right to raise anxiety. We want to force our neighbors to reflect on human fate, to the difficult love that we owe to great matters, including contempt for all those who persistently try to diminish a man and take away his dignity.

A wonderful, cruel and merciless life awaits you. Be at every moment, in every word spoken on the side of values, for beautiful craftsmanship, against trash, for the continuous effort of will and mind, against easy manners, for truth, against hypocrisy, lies, and violence. And don’t be modern, for God’s sake. Be honest. Grow in courage and modesty. May you be accompanied by faith in unattainable perfection and not leave anxiety and eternal torment that say that what we have achieved today is definitely not enough.

I wish you a difficult life, only such an artist is worthy. Good thoughts, greetings, and words of hope for you…”

* a Polish poet, essayist, drama writer and moralist.


Where there is a shadow there is also a souce of light” - said a friend of mine while referring to the work of Carl Gustav Jung. Our conversation concerned the ways of how our subconscious mind can hold us back in certain moments. How past and present tend to mix in the utmost peculiar of ways. It can alter, for a fraction of time or longer, how we act and what we tend to believe in and, in effect, influence our future. 

For some this effect might be fascinating while for others it stands as a source of constant anxiety. I find myself in the middle while, from time to time, swaying in both directions. 

I believe our pain can be a source of immense creativity and resonance if we let it. Of course, I’m not talking about celebrating or romanticising human sufferring. Far from it. What I mean is going on a journey “through” not “at”and collecting what is around - words, photographs, moments in memory. This focus can perhaps save us from tunneling inside our own mind indefinitely.

The sun always comes up. Every day. It might be hard to notice on a gray winter afternoon.


Sometimes you climb out of bed in the morning and you think, I’m not going to make it, but you laugh inside — remembering all the times you’ve felt that way.”  - Charles Bukowski


The mundane interchanges with excitement

Excitement swims with anxiety

Anxiety fades away surrounded by hope

Hope lights up confidence

Confidence breeds action


She stood there looking with hope. Or was it sorrow, maybe sadness? I couldn’t tell due to the distance separating us.
We looked at each other from afar as if searching for a connection. Then came a new day and then another one. Days changed to weeks. 

It was like a fading ritual where the picture became more blurry and distant as time passed. It was hard to see anything. That said, there was an accompanying air of togetherness and longing for wisdom that might never come. 

After many weeks, all of a sudden, a fleeting moment occurred where the air started clearing. The distance brought sense and long-awaited hope. The fog separating us disappeared.

Yet, there was nobody there.

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