Blog #146 The Project vs. The Series
Blog #146 The Project vs. The Series
📷 📷 📷 Professional
In this week’s blog post, I want to share a few words on the concept of a photography project. A photography project is something different than a series. I’ve blogged about this before in Blog #2 on my Project 365, Blog #6 on the topic of projects, and Blog #110 that was about a series with bikes.
Series are collections of images around one subject or theme. A project or photo essay is more at a statement about some aspect of the world, expressed through images. It’s the proverbial crème de la crème of image making and the highest form (or at least the most challenging) for artists who draw with light. Making series of pictures is like practice or rehearsal for the photo essay or project.
While the completion of a photographic project is extremely complex and difficult, the project is in itself an answer to a question. That question is simple.
WHAT DO YOU WANT TO TELL THE WORLD THAT YOU SEE WITH YOUR CAMERA?
The answer to this question can develop into a photo essay or project. Everyone who owns a camera will undoubtably answer this question differently. What do you see through your lens? What is around you in your environment, town, workplace, or community?
What about these places or subjects is interesting to you or different or shocking even? Does the place or subject that you tend to make photos of make you angry, amazed, confused, happy, or sad? What is going on around you that you want to …no…HAVE to share about the state of things?
If you are gravitating towards some setting or subject matter and feeling some emotion and, in turn, can successfully communicate that emotion through your images, you are likely to make a significant statement about the world and people will find this interesting. This is the essence of a successful project.
I’m working on two at the moment…one I have been working on for over a year and and I’m not even half way through. It’s a fairly complex project and when it’s done, I will present it to the world but I won’t talk about it much until then. The other I plan to continue working on after I made a series about two years ago on a subject that is interesting to me. The second project needs a lot of work and attention and I am hoping for the guys at Magnum to help me to rekindle this project later in April. In April, I’m doing a five day intensive Magnum workshop…more on that later.
What projects are you thinking about working on? Stop thinking, and start shooting! Projects are utterly useless bouncing around that gray matter between your ears.
In graduate school when working on your doctorate degree there is a massive dissertation or final project that is required. Basically, you have to write a book. There is a saying that goes “There are the perfect dissertation projects and then there are the completed ones”. In other words, get projects done and then move onto the next one. Now…I need to take some of my own advise and get on with it.
Good luck with your project!
The light is always right.
*Images: © Limelight Limited
Where: Hong Kong Streets
Subject: Series of Street Photography mostly in Wan Chai market on one weekend day around Hong Kong. The guy with the stunning vintage Nikon rangefinder is partner-in-crime Mike Epstein. Check him out on Instagram @analogmike
Gear: Nikon FM3a SLR, 28mm f/2.0 Prime Lens, 35mm Agfa Vista Plus 200 ISO color film. This film is unfortunately not being produced anymore. However, Vishal might still have some if you ask him nicely. Go to www.camerfilmphoto.com for all of your film and developing needs.