Justin Visnesky's edit of my work

Above: Ghost, Dust buster, Rejected popsicle

I was very excited when I received an email from Justin Visnesky answering my "Pick 5" challenge. I first saw Justin's work through Flak photo and was so struck by his website that I sent him an email to say how much I loved his photographs. We had a nice little written exchange, and now it's been great to be back in touch via Pick 5.

Justin's most recent series "sometimes you just know" captures very poignantly a sense of nostalgia, memory, and intimacy that I find extremely moving. In the "about" section of his website it says: "He makes photographs of the simple, quiet times in life; taking the ordinary and making it something more, something for the keeping." Well put. It's rare that I'm so completely taken in by a series, and Justin's work really does that for me. So often I'll be drawn to someone's photos but find they fall apart in the presentation, with the pictures forming no coherent whole. But Justin has a real eye for narrative flow; his arrangement of images causes the theme of "something more" in the everyday to become a profound statement about place and connection.

Narrative is an important component overall to his work, and he's mindful of this dimension, saying in one of his emails: "I tend to edit my images the same way I edited yours: I go through, pick my favorites (based on what "feels" right, which I can usually tell pretty quickly) and arrange them until a narrative comes through." I work very similarly, which may be one facet of why I feel such a kinship with his photographs, in addition to being drawn to the poignancy of small moments in my own projects. Needless to say, I was very interested to see which five of my photos Justin would pick.

The order he chose is above, and I think it's a great set. They're five images I never would have thought to put together, but they really work in my opinion. When he sent the edit he wrote: "I know there's a bit of heavy (possibly depressing) theme going in that grouping, but I think they work really well together, and are, at the same time, very hopeful." I like his interpretation, as I'm often attempting to show the duality of both darkness and wonder in my work.

Getting someone else's take on the whole sequencing issue has made me see my imagery in a new light, and has opened up possibilities for pairings I'd never considered before. It's also nice to see that certain pictures have an impact because I worry about readability--are they too personal? Obscure? I'm always trying to find the balance between both an individual and universal connection with the viewer, so it was good to see that those photos spoke to Justin. It makes me feel more comfortable with reintroducing them into a sequence for a submission. In fact, I probably would have initially left them out of my edit for Women in Photography, but I decided to incorporate them into my twelve-image series, and I think they really add something to the whole. All of this is a fascinating experiment in seeing.

I'll post soon about my edit of Justin's work, and include more excerpts from my conversations with him about process and such; for now I'm off to fix dinner for the girls.


Mel Trittin said…
I purchased Justin's book "Sometimes You Just Know" last year. He apologized for being a bit slow (a few days) by including a print. He's good people.

His edit of your work is an excellent example of the benefit of having a detached, learned eye assist with an edit. It is quite extraordinary that all the baggage we bring to individual images goes out the window and allows the image to just "be" when someone else experiences them. This then permits a narrative from the work itself instead of being driven by the artist's bias.

Your work is very strong, this edit adds to its strength.
Thanks for your compliment to my work, along with your wonderfully insightful comments. I'm happy to hear from another Justin fan. I just got the book myself, with an unexpected print included, made my day.



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