I recently had separate conversations with fellow photographers Jospeh O. Holmes and Michael Schmidt about contact sheets. Aside from sitting with a photographer and discussing their work, the contact sheet is perhaps the best way to understand a photographer's working and editing process. You get to see all the variations, uncropped and unedited. (Maybe its just fun to see that even the all-time greats' best work is not always a "one and done" shot.)
Within the last year, a number of fine photography books have tackled the contact sheet. A few noteworthy examples include the now classic Looking In: Robert Frank's The Americans, Jim Marshall: Proof, and Steve Crist's The Contact Sheet.
I suppose this qualifies contact sheets as a "trending" topic.
In light of this, I thought it would be fun to take one of my favorite street shots and do up a proper contact sheet--so here it is. This shot was an outtake from my work on the Nikon D80 advertising campaign (it was never used in the actual campaign). I remember this day well, as I intended to make dozens of great photos on the Staten Island Ferry. I rode the ferry back a forth a few times and after reviewing my shots was disappointed that I didn't get the great shots I expected. I laid a big goose egg. I got off the ferry at Whitehall Terminal at sunset and dejectedly walked north to catch the PATH train back to my apartment in Hoboken. As I ambled toward the train station, I came upon this subway light, something it about it just spoke to me, and before I knew it I was shooting it from below. I did end up with a magical shot--just not the one I expected.