The subject came up again some time ago: how many of the photographs you have taken on a certain occasion do you really use in the end? I remember talking about it one afternoon years ago with my friend Ed van der Elsken, looking at the peacocks outside his farmhouse near Edam. He was known to be a prolific shooter and wondered what my results were. His were about one “usable” (as he called it) picture for every film, so 1 out of 36. By usable he meant “worth publishing” by the way, not “technically o.k.” of course, and he had a good eye for catchy images! Neither of us used motor drives then, needless to say. I had to think of it, but thought that overall, my results matched his 1 out of 36.
When I did use motordrives for the house parties series, the numbers went up quite naturally, and after one of these many nights I came home at 4.30 a.m. tired, but with 14 exposed films in my pockets, my best result until then. As I had agreed that my hit score was about the same as Ed’s it was reasonable to expect something like 10 to 14 great pictures, for I had not even made excessive use of the motordrive (I never do, preferring the single exposure mode to sequences). This was not bad at all, but of course it’s only the “rough material” for laying out a series, and more than one perfect image gets edited out later. In fact, the more choice you have, the better the series will be in the end.