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there is an interesting thread over in the RF General Discussion area about the discrepancy between the photography you do and the photography you want to do. i've been struggling with not achieving the sort of photography i have in mind and have been thinking whether setting myself a bigger, more considered project might help with bringing the focus into my work that i'm lacking at the moment. right now i just tend to shoot randomly with not much satisfaction.
i am a music obsessive and i know many poeple who have amazing record collection and in whose homes a turntable still holds a place of honour. i'm thinking of maybe starting a series of portraits of record collectors and their collections.
do any of you find such bigger projects useful in focusing and training your eye? have any of you completed such a project? any series out there to look at?
projects are a good way to focus your shooting. Your idea sounds cool, I can see record collectors standing in front of thier collection and holding one or two of the favorite albums. The project doesn't have to be a one or two year period, it could easily be a weekend or month long project depending on participation of your subjects.
I have an ongoing project that covers a sort of "Fading small town America(na)". I shoot this stuff when I have a chance to get out of the bigger cities and into rural areas so the time period is open to weekends and when I have the chance to travel.
I think it is the best way to focus your energy. It is hard to just randomly shoot because you have no way of knowing if you have progressed. Your idea would be great! Find some sort of club or online mag that is for that subject and pitch the series of portraits to them. Perhaps make a buck off it to pay for the film you use.
thanks for the encouragement. it can be disheartening to get a roll of film back from the lab and there being little that's really satisfactory. embarking on a more focused and somewhat more ambitous project seemed like an interesting way to go...
todd, i take it some of the pictures in your blog are from the ongoing Americana series? beautiful shots...
On a smaller scale, I want to do a series of photos of my childhood friends, who I don't see much anymore, and will see even less in the future.
Though I'm not working regularly on my projects (as in having a fixed agenda), I do return to them once in a while. And I have many projects, adding to them when I think up something new. This may sounds like a return to the unorchestrated shooting I did before (and often still do) but it's not. I'm easily bored with a project (for many reasons, like lack of access, lack of time, lack of opportunities, shortish attention span, outside demands, family affairs, work, etc) and having more than one keeps me rotating between them. And I always have some project I can pick up when I feel like it. I have, for example, a project in which I walk from my home town to another nearby city/ town/ village. It's a day trip and I shoot all day those things I encounter. This is not a trip I take easily or lightly. I hope to do 1 or 2 per year as it takes time, proper weather (no rain and thunder storms, please!), and an opportune moment.
I alos have a few projects that have no ending, like my "Clouds and skies" project. I shoot for that project whenever things fall in place. Sometimes that's 6 times a day, other times not even once a month. It works for me. :)
Projects invite discipline, provide focus, and can result in a cohesive body of work. Or as RML mentions, several! I had discovered that my more interesting photos involved people, yet through reserve or shyness I had difficulty confronting others with the camera. So I resolved to work on that through a project of environmental portraits of people doing their jobs. Many of these in my RFF Gallery.
At the same time I can't resist any opportunity to add to old projects like manikins and shadow designs. Sounds like your turntable collector idea is a good opening into interesting people pics! :)
Projects are a great way to focus and can have a finite timeframe or be left open ended.
I have a folder in my gallery of a project I did on travellers in the UK, unfortunately there are only around ten photos in there as many were destroyed by flooding. I'm now trying to get the project back up and running as I feel I'm in a rut and because its unfinished business.
Your idea sounds like a good project to start up and I think you'll find that when you get underway elements of it will spark new ideas for other projects...go on - do it and show us the results!!
I hope you will do fantastic project that way.
I am engaged in my project 2 montsh already on theme "Old aged masters at work".
Shooting RF, SLR and DSLR every session and select 1 or 2 at most for final exibit.
I make my work slow and sometimes redo the session. This is interesting, because I need cooperative participants and conversation opens new ideas. After some time I can say - I like what I am doing. Also, it can be nice to know how many masters I need to end the job, or, to leave that number open?
Seems this kind of work is soul deep for me
Projects are good, I always have a few on the go. I tend not to strongly define them, I just keep some loosely thematic ideas in mind, and they help me look for specific things to photograph and connect. At the moment I'm on the hunt for 6x6 elements to make triptychs from.
I like your record player/collector idea. I've got a nice record player and a good sized record collection, so if you need volunteers let me know.
ian - judging from your musical tastes, i bet you got a nice record player! ;) thanks for offering to sit for me, i might well take you up on it.
lZr - the 'old aged masters at work' pictures in your gallery look fantastic. and a very interesting project overall. i think, like you, i would proceed to use every type of camera available to me (RF, SLR, DSLR) and then make a very tight selection at the end.
Good question and thread, I have long realized that photo projects are very good for my own education and improvement as I learn to take better pictures.
It is also a good "tool" to scout and mark good photo opportunities if you live in a place where photogenic subjects are not readily visible (unless you're a very talented photographer, which I am not).
I have an ongoing project to capture the city where I live through classic-vintage camera/lenses. This easy project motivates me to go out and shoot pictures.
These are what I've gathered so far, it's fun :)
PS: Todd, I enjoyed your photos, it's very very charming!
shadowfox - that is a great slideshow and the theme of using old lenses is very intruiging.
yeah, i'm hoping that with my proposed project i might be able to train my eye and skills a bit more so that i'll be able to shoot more precisely what i have in mind in the future. i hope it won't be too long until i post some results here... :)
The best side effect I've found from being forced to shoot (an assignment, a project, whatever) is that you really run into the limits of your abilities, thus forcing you to either adapt and improvise or crash and burn. :)
Last week or so I had a shoot for the Women's World Banking conference here in Holland. I was there early to see the conference room, get my bearings, test out some settings, etc. Got it all and was ready to go. Then they turned off the lights because they had slide shows that needed to be played. That left me with a problem. Flash was out because I needed close-ups of the speakers, and the flash (even at 1/16 power) was bleaching out every detail at that distance. So I had to shoot high iso and longish shutter times (1/15 sec with a dSLR isn't much fun if you don't have/ can't afford image stabilisation on a Canon). After all, I needed at least some DoF and was shooting at f4 to get that.
Anyway, I came home with a lot of (slightly) blurred and mostly rather dark shots. But I did get a nice selection that the client could work with. You can see some here: http://shardsofphotography.blogspot.com/search?q=GNBI .
I had to adapt and improvise or else would have come home with nothing. It made me realise I have more skills and knowledge, and the guts to take a few chances. Would I have learned that by just shooting randomly for myself? I doubt it.
I have a folder in my gallery of a project I did on travellers in the UK, unfortunately there are only around ten photos in there as many were destroyed by flooding.
What sad news. I remember those photos and enjoyed them.
I would also agree!
I have two projects going right now.
One involving those cold air inflatable characters you see at used car dealerships, etc and another involving the number 3.
I have been working onthem both over the last two years or so.
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