Thursday, December 28, 2006
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
It seems to me that what you're asking, really, is "now that I've built a skill base, and I have a process in place for working on craft, where do I go from here?"
In my mind, things always tend to play out along the same lines photographers seem to build skills up to a certain point, and then either stall (and continue making what I call onesies - good or great photos that are unrelated thematically), or else they seem to gravitate to working in a more extended project format. It seems like the ability to work in a focused way on projects is the skill that seems to vault photographers up over the stall point that I think you're hitting.
In the book "On being a photographer', by Bill Jay & David Hurn, they talk about working on projects being about developing a plan and working to the plan, having a shot list, etc. I'm sure that's a help to commercially oriented photographers, but for the rest of us, it's of little use. When I work on a project, it seems to be quite a bit less cohesive and planned, and the project often takes unexpected turns in ways I hadn't imagined when I started out. I know other photographers who have little rituals that they use, patterns they use to get engaged with the project in the large. It seems to be different for everyone, and so it seems like each of us has to work it out for him/herself.
The essential ingredient seems to be that the project has to be something about which you care. If you don't care a lot, it will just peter out and die.
So I'd suggest that you pick a subject that you care about, and photograph like crazy. Look at the images you get, and make prints, and put them up where you'll see them all the time. Spend some time thinking about them, about what they say and what ideas you get from the ones you've done, and what you'd like to do next. If you have other photographers nearby, get together with them and show them the prints and listen carefully to what they say - not so much about the individual images so much as the whole body of photos. Often the telling comments are the ones that they just let slip in a casual way - those comments are often about the overall direction they see things taking.
There's a weird thing - the best projects seem to evolve a lot and become addictive, and seem to start to embody things beyond just what's being photographed.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Answers to the three little questions, posed earlier this week. What do you want to do with photography ?
Thursday, December 21, 2006
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
1. What do you want to do with photography? 2. What are your goals? 3. Why do you enter contests ? I was asked these three questions yesterday. I'm mostly stumped for a good answer or one that I'm happy with. I'll try to answer them over the next week.