A photograph is never finished because even once you release the shutter and capture the scene before you on film or as pixels, there are an infinite number of post processing possibilities that could be applied, from simple cropping or exposure adjustments to radical treatments that render the original image almost indistinguishable.
But even then, a photograph is never finished because of the infinite ways you can present and share the image, physically via anything from a keyring or tiny print to a framed picture or giant poster, in any number of printed publications or a vast and varied range of online channels from your own blog or website, to multiple social media channels and more.
But even then, a photograph is never finished because each person who sees it does so through their own unique and infinitely complex layer of filters and experiences and perceptions, so what might evoke horror in one person might be nostalgic for another, and what is embraced as exquisite beauty by another could be dismissed as abhorrently grotesque by another still.
But even then, a photograph is never finished because each person that sees it might be moved to share it with their partner, children, friends, colleagues, students, readers, which could number anything from two to 20 million and two people, and each of those could in turn share it with as many more, each of these new viewers applying their own individual interpretation to the image.
But even then, a photograph is never finished because the only print ever made of a single composition might have lain at the back of a dusty drawer for decades, and be discovered by fresh eyes, perhaps only the second pair of eyes who have ever seen it, who absorb it in their own curious way, a hundred years after the original photographer made the image and has long passed away.
When you next release the shutter and make a photograph, remember this. That moment is not the end of the photograph, it’s the very beginning.
A photographs is never finished.
What do you think? Is a photograph ever finished?
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