The Return

It's been a crazy week, to say the least. I'm currently at the Missouri Photo Workshop in Clinton, Missouri, working on their multimedia team to produce stories about the workshop. But the College Photographer of the Year contest entries were also due this week. So I've been revisiting a lot of my old work.

I found these pictures from the trip I took to the Faroe Islands when I did a story about their culture, among other things (y'know, whale hunting). I haven't revisited my take from those two weeks since I edited my story months ago, which is really silly because I edited, wrote and designed that magazine spread in quite a rush. I have never been really happy at all with the edit, but finally decided on an eight-picture edit. And it only took me like, three weeks and a lot of feedback from photographers I respect.

One reason I've never revisited that take is because there are 2,600 pictures from that week. I feel like I definitely overshot (obviously), but I was also shooting a lot of different things. I approached this story with the idea that I would take a bunch of pictures of different aspects of Faroese culture and one or two pictures from each situation would kind of represent what is going on there. So with 200-300 images of each event, with about 8 events total — well, that adds up.

Of course, this is a logical thought process, but isn't really how it all worked out. I thought I went there super prepared — I even packed proper clothing, something I am notorious for not doing. I went with a shot list, multiple connections, a ton of ideas of what to shoot and a good understanding of what it was like to live in this cold, isolated country.

But one reason it's been so hard for me to make an edit is because of the lack of likeness between the pictures. The entire time I was there, I did shoot with a particular style. I want it to look moody, dark, rainy, cold and weird. I shot slow shutter speeds, deep depths of field and back-focused a lot. But one problem I faced was the story that ties the images together. I couldn't just rely on the fact that they were all shot in the Faroe Islands to make the story cohesive.

This story is much more of a photo essay than a photo story, I've discovered. It's about a place — and this place hasn't changed since I've left and it's not a linear sort of thing. It's kind of documentary, but documentaries have a beginning and an end. This is a cyclical story, and the fact that the Faroe Islands never changes is kind of what brought me to my final edit.

These pictures here are not my final edit (see the bottom of this post). These are just some nice images I found while I was going through 2,600 pictures. One is bound to have missed something after going through so many pictures, and I really needed a kind of thesis for my story. I believe I found in a few necessary pictures that ended up in my final edit, plus some other shots I liked as well. That's what blogs are for, I guess.

Although I started out with a National Geographic-esque story about the culture of a weird, isolated country, I edited this much differently now. And I'm more happy with it. I made the story more about the generations of the Faroe Islands and how it is a country much rooted in tradition. Things are slow to change there, mostly because of its isolation from the rest of Europe, but also because the people just embrace tradition. I tried to use pictures to show the progression of passing down Faroese tradition to new generations and how the elderly hope these traditions will be kept in the future.

I put together an impromptu PDF flipbook of the story. It's not design-friendly, but I wanted to display the photos large, consecutively and with captions. I am super happy to be done and mostly happy with this story and hope you all enjoy looking through it.