Three eyes are better than one.

I was lamenting the days of when I used to use a loupe to look at slides and proof sheets. There is something about the intimacy of closing one eye and getting really close to your image that is appealing to me and always seemed to be excelent for editing images. Or so I thought.

Upon my return from the USSR in 1990, I went through several edits of the images I shot. Somehow I amassed a considerable number of out-takes. Granted I was 24 at the time and Russia was my first photo journalism assignment ever, but man oh man that was one big pile of slides that didn’t make the cut. Slightly disparaged, but still excited about what I did achieve, the piles of out-takes sat neatly stacked on the edge of my light table for days until my friend Michelle Carmichael asked if she should go through them.

lesko_russia.jpgFrom a fluorescent glowing corner of my apartment I kept hearing “that one…that one…that one”. She had spread all the slides out on the light table and was looking at them for her initial edit without a loupe. This afforded her a gut reaction to the images from a birds eye view which prevented the bias that occurs from the magnified perspective of the loupe. To my louped eye the image to the right hit me as too bright. But viewed from a few steps back the image was beautiful. Had she not taken the time to dig through the trash, so-to-speak, the image to the right would have never seen the light of day and I my career would have been very different.

I came to realize that I’m not a good photo editor. And my friend Michelle has an eagle eye for good photos. Which is why photo editing exists as a profession unto itself. Some people are brilliant at it, most of us are not. I’m convinced it’s genetic. Just look for the people that have three eyes.