A couple of weeks ago a student at the Bishops Stortford College Prep School asked me what my favourite photo was that I had taken. And I couldn't answer him!
That got me thinking of how we determine what is a favourite photo and does that perception shift when we take the 'next' favourite?
For example I can think of many favourite photos of my son over the years....is the most current one more of a favourite than the others? Are all the photos of my son favourites by default because of who the photo is of? Some favourites are not even necessarily 'good' photos every time when it comes to a loved one. The photos where he's pulling a face at me because I've pointed the camera at him, again, are really memorable, funny and absolutely him. But I can't say that any one is my absolute favourite.
Professionally, I can think of things I have photographed that struck a chord, in both my heritage and commercial work. Is it the photograph that's a favourite or the object itself? Could the photos that I include in presentations and my portfolio be said to be my favourites?
Sometimes the experience we were having is part of what makes the photo special to us. Holidays, special occasions etc. Does the next great holiday replace the previous ones or add to the list of favourites?
Of course, what we like won't be the same for other people. My Mum, for years, had a photo of me on display that I hated but she always said it was one of her favourites of me.
And, have you ever dug out an old photo because you remembered it as one of your favourites to be slightly disappointed when you saw it - the reaction, is not always the same, in my experience, to my remembered feeling about it.
What has also shifted over time has been my own skill level. So what I loved at the time is now viewed with a more critical eye and often gets replaced by something more recent and 'better'. Or I think to myself - 'I could shoot that so much better now" and sometimes I do.
So, favourites are linked to people, place and experiences and they appear to shift with time, personal taste and memories.
I can't say that I have one favourite photo of all time among the tens of thousands of images I have taken (in just the last 10-20 years, but I do have more than a few! And I think this quote about photography sums up why we have favourites;
"Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever. It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything" Aaron Siskind
I chose photos taken in 2016 for this post but it was really hard to choose only three!
What are your favourite photos - is it easy to choose? Could you pick just one?