However, here’s an example for which I do have the original reference: a portrait within the “Reading the River” series. The original shot was taken outside a nondescript cement block building and, while it had promise, needed some radical surgery first. I sat on it for over a year, mulling over the problem (wrong shirt, hopeless background); on the other hand, it had the makings of a good portrait with the added plus of superb gear. I am frequently reminded by the resident fly fisher that gear trumps all else; while I remain skeptical of that world view, I will acknowledge its truth in this particular photo.
The solution when it finally arrived involved severe cropping. I finally realized that the heart of the portrait was a skinny vertical. Next to go was the plaid shirt, which distracted the focal points of his eyes, his hand, and (you guessed it) the gear. What mattered was the play of light throughout. And then it worked. Yippees all around.