She spent roughly a day narrowing them down to 17 favorites. They're shown here chronologically.
As usual her picks were completely unexpected. She chose photos I'd forgotten about or dismissed, many of which were abstract and weird, and left out many that I thought were sure-fire winners.
That's why I like to get her take periodically. It may not always align with my own but it's guaranteed to be original.
I should probably take a minute to explain where my mom is coming from.
For the past 15 years she's been a sculptor, mostly using cast bronze, and before that she spent many years as a calligrapher. And all along the way she's been an amateur photographer.
All of which is to say she has a strong background in art, but she's not a hardcore photogeek. You won't find her cruising TPP or FPN.
But she has strong personal taste, which is more than I can say for many, and I trust that.
My friend Faulkner uses a similar method. Every few weeks he gets together with family and passes around prints, and everyone writes initials on the backs of the ones they like. Their picks are often quite different than his own.
If you think you know your own photos well, this method can offer something to chew on.
I think the lesson is that it's healthy to get photo feedback from a variety of sources.
Feedback from other photographers is great but not usually sufficient on its own, since there can be a tendency for it to fall into certain patterns. Anyone who's ever put a photo up on Flickr can probably confirm this for themselves. Flickr's audience isn't the average Joe. It's other photographers.
I think the best feedback comes from others with rich inner lives. Artists, musicians, poets, children. I suspect polar explorers would offer helpful comments.
The most democratic feedback method would probably be to stand on a street corner with a box of prints to browse, choosing people from the passing crowd. But that method presents complications. It's messy, it takes energy, and it's hard to tell which passersby aren't photographers.
I think the closest equivalent on the web is Facebook. You put a photo up there and it's seen by everyone regardless of photographic background. Beware: comments can come from out near the warning track.
But alas, Facebook comes with its own set of challenges involving rights and privacy issues. I don't know too many photographers who use it for serious feedback.
Putting photos in a blog post can work but it's the same problem as Flickr. Most viewers are other photographers. I know that's true for B. Nothing against you all. It's just that...I don't know. Forget I said anything.
You don't need a botanist to tell you how beautiful fall leaves are, right? Well it's sort of the same deal as that.