Wrapping up 2015, Part Deux

I posted yesterday and said that I was splitting my end-of-2015 blog into two separate posts, one for shots I took with a “proper” camera, and one of shots taken with my cell phone. This is part two–and if you like what you see, by all means go back and check out part one–of that promised post. Feel free to leave a comment down below or pass the link along to your friends/followers if you think they would enjoy some of the images.

Without further ado, here are the images:

 

Wrapping Up 2015

This has been a down year for my blog. WordPress informed me that I only blogged five times during 2015, and still amassed more than 20,000 visits somehow. Even though that number is down considerably from my peak two years ago, I’m happy people still managed to enjoy my blog.

I have been taking fewer photographs this year; I’m not sure why. Sometimes I think it’s because I started a new job, or because I’ve been too busy with life. Ultimately, I think it’s because I’ve chosen to invest the spare time I have into other things increasingly. Do I enjoy taking photographs less than I used to? Is this temporary, or is it a shift in my interests going forward? That I don’t know. I find myself carrying my dedicated cameras less–I never used to leave the house without one–and find myself reaching for one I’ve brought along even less. I end up taking a larger percentage of¬†pictures with my phone, but fewer overall. Ultimately, I love photography and I love taking pictures. My number one subject for the past ten years–my son, who is almost 11 years old now–is less interested in being photographed anymore. Or is it me who is less interested in chasing down pictures of him? I’m largely thinking as I type here; I don’t have the answers to these questions.

And so, I’ve decided to divide my now-traditional end of year blog post into two distinct categories: one of mobile phone shots, and one of shots taken with my “proper” cameras.

(On the subject of cameras: I have bought and sold almost no camera gear this year. I have said in the past I have less and less interest in equipment, and that has never rung more true for me than this year.)

So today’s post will be the shots that I took with my cameras, and the final one for the year will be my favorite shots that I took with my mobile phone. I hope you enjoy, and comments are always welcome!

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April

Arlo

The past month has been defined by the gradual onset of spring. Winter is slowly fading, and although it hasn’t given up easily, the warmer weather and longer days are slowly winning out. This has led to an increase in the amount of time spent outdoors, which in turn has led to more opportunities to shoot. Still, I’m far from having the kind of time I used to have to get out and shoot; perhaps this is the new normal? As much as I’d prefer it not to be, I think it may be.

Evening Swing

I have been meaning to do a write-up of a camera I have been loving lately, the Ricoh GR. It has come to be my go-to camera every day, everywhere, for virtually every situation. The focal length was a bit of a problem at first, and it’s still not my favorite, but I’m learning to work around it and challenge myself; other than that, the camera is essentially perfect. If Ricoh made more of these, in different focal lengths–say, 21-28-40, or something–they’d sell a boatload. It’s awesome.

But that leads me to another point I’ve been pondering: gear. I’ve come to despise talking about gear. I spent the better part of 5 years obsessing in varying amounts about the type of gear I was using. I was fetishizing the equipment rather than what I was doing with it, and in the process spent a lot of money buying and selling various types of gear. I was a digital convert, a film purist, and Leicaphile…in short, I’ve covered the gamut of gearhead obsession and self-identification.

Sunrise

Over the past few months I’ve given myself some distance from gear-based forums. I’ve stopped following many on various social media outlets that only talk about gear. And amazingly, it all came about naturally. I just…stopped caring. I no longer care to debate the optical qualities of a certain lens, the megapixel count of a given sensor, sharpness, resolution, etc etc. I just don’t care. Because I don’t care does not mean I am on some high and mighty, holier-than-thou moralistic crusade; if that’s what interests you, then knock yourself out.

There are camera collectors, and there are photographers. I believe that due to the technical side of the art form, those two necessarily converge at some point in all those who take photographs, but how much varies. I used to be equal parts collector and user, and in some instances was more collector than user. If you take photographs of your cameras, or choose your camera as an accessory you’d like people to see, you’re in that territory as well. Like any recovering cameraholic, it has taken distance and time to be able to see that about myself.

What I’ve come to understand, only more recently, and with the benefit of space to reflect on this, is that my priorities were skewed. Yes, the addition of a new camera is always a thrill, but it’s a cheap thrill. Before long, you’re stuck in a never-ending cycle of adding yet another piece of gear to achieve the same rush again. Eventually you don’t even use the equipment you have assembled, despite your reasoning to yourself that you’re only acquiring the gear to use, and that it will help you somehow. It won’t. The ever-shorter window that you own the gear before swapping it for something else means you can’t. You don’t get to know it; rather than becoming a trusted old friend, the article in question is never more than a passing acquaintance, something you only know superficially before bidding it adieu and welcoming another.

Last Snow

Increasingly, I have spent more time shooting for myself. And if I’m honest, I can barely tell the difference in varying optical qualities of lenses and sensors most of the time unless I’m looking at them side-by-side at the pixel level. When it comes to photographs that mean something to me, more important is that I have the photos, not that they are technically perfect. When someone looks at the photos of my life, will they care if I used the Summilux or the Summicron? When I look at them in ten years, will I care? Will I even notice?

So the GR may not get a review, as I have done with previous cameras. I have to say that consistently, it is the camera reviews I have done that garner the most page views. I get more traffic from them than from anything else I have posted over the years. I guess that says a lot about others as well, and how the prioritization of gear has consumed photography for a lot of folks.

Expect to see less about gear going forward.

Top 20 of 2013, Part 2

Here is the second part of my top 20 photos that I took in the calendar year 2013. As I said previously, they don’t stand together as a set very well, because they represent a whole year and were not intended as a set when they were taken. Try to think of them as individual images that stand alone–I didn’t want to break them up into 20 different blog posts to keep them as individual images.

Without further delay, here is the second part of the series. I would love to hear your thoughts!

NYC, April 2013

London, January 2013

Yellowstone NP, June 2013

Washington, DC, March 2013

Yellowstone NP, June 2013

London, January 2013

Annapolis, April 2013

Baltimore, February 2013

Gettysburg, February 2013

London, January 2013

Top 20 of 2013, Part 1

I am a week or so late, but I’ve decided to make another contribution to the endless “Top XX of 2013” lists that have been everywhere of late. I figured I’d post a set of my favorite images that I took last year. I debated on how to present this list; the nature of such a list means that the focus will be on single images. However, having them presented as a set means they won’t necessarily flow well, since they weren’t intended as a set. So I’m presenting a set that doesn’t fit together as a set, which makes it seem a bit disjointed. But try to think of them as individual images.

I’d love to hear your thoughts, and I will post the second part in the near future. I’m sure I’ve forgotten some images, but this is what is my top 20 as of today (it can change over time). I also wanted to avoid posting a set of images that only included my family and friends.

This first set isn’t in any particular order, but this is the first half of the top 20.

Wyoming, June 2013

London, January 2013

NYC, March 2013

Mount Rushmore, June 2013

London, January 2013

Annapolis, April 2013

Montana, June 2013

Delaware, March 2013

NYC, April 2013

Saint Paul, October 2013

New Year, New Challenge: The Black and White Year

Shadow – Minneapolis, MN

A while back I blogged about the challenge I set for myself in 2012. To recap, it had been simply to shoot a roll of film each week with the goal of shooting more film again, since I had slowly but surely gotten away from analog photography over the past few years. In that, it was a success. For the full recap, click the link and read the post.

Moving ahead, I want a fresh challenge. After considering some ideas (thanks to all of those who emailed or commented me with suggestions!) I have decided to undertake a challenge (with a few key differences, but building off the same essential idea that less is more) that I read about from a blogger in Switzerland. I have never met him, nor do I know him any more than superficially, but I enjoyed his blog and his journey. Since he got his idea from another blogger, and since the idea is nothing new, I don’t feel bad about copying his idea and moving ahead with it in my own way. ¬†He is simply the last straw that convinced me to simplify in order to move ahead (NOTE: he has since finished his challenge and removed his blog). There is a dedicated flickr group for this concept, and many have drawn inspiration from this post for this idea.

This is 2014, with my trusty rangefinder. This is my black and white year.

Since 2012’s challenge suffered due to a lack of rules and guidelines to keep it going and focused, I intend to ensure that this year’s effort does not suffer from a similar loss of inertia by installing firm rules. You might have guessed the rules based on the title of the challenge, but I think it is valuable to spell them out all the same and hold myself accountable. I have outlined a set of rules, and a set of goals, for this challenge. ¬†Read on for the details.

Snow – Minneapolis, MN

Here are the rules:
  1. The entire challenge will be shot: A) with a single camera; B) with the lenses I currently own (28/1.9, 40/1.4, 50/1.5); C) on black and white film (Kodak 400TX/Arista Premium 400, Fuji Acros 100 and Neopan 400, and other films; I want to experiment with some different emulsions that I have not had the chance to try yet); and D) will last one calendar year (2014).
  2. For this year, the focus is improving my photography, which is another thing I want to improve.  My street shots range wildly in quality, and I want to address this. In part, this is due to editing; it is also because I need to learn to compose images better, and learn patience in shooting the out in the streets.
  3. I will shoot no less than¬†2 rolls of film per week. I may shoot more, but this is the minimum each week. I will continue to use my phone as a digital camera for snapshots of things, during those times that I can’t have a film camera with me, and will post some to the blog from time to time.
  4. I will send the film out each month¬†(more regularly than I usually do, which is every 2-4 months) to get quicker results. At this point, I would like to do so every 2 weeks. I have decided not to process the film on my own, due in part to the fact that I will not have a dedicated space available and I simply can’t take on that task when I am gone from home. So, for consistency’s sake, and for the sake of not overwhelming myself with¬†constraints and more work, I will send it out to be processed for me.
  5. I will create sets on flickr to upload each roll in its entirety (this will serve as my contact sheet), and choose 3 images from each roll as the best. This will help keep the project transparent and
  6. From the edited images, I will, at the end of the year, choose 20-30 images which I will put into a book (via Blurb). This will also allow others to see the final set of images in book form. The final selections will also be published into a set on my personal website.
  7. I will not be buying any new photographic equipment for the duration of 2014. I want to renew my focus on my photography and get away from the incessant temptation to acquire new/better/different gear.

Wind – NYC

Here are the goals:
  1. To stop focusing on the acquisition of new photographic gear, which can be fun and interesting, but also presents pitfalls. Firstly, the constant financial output of constantly adding more gear, which while not out of control, can easily get to be so. Second, I’d like to familiarize myself with a single piece of equipment so that it becomes an extension of my hand, and of my artistic vision.
  2. I want my photography to improve, and I want to have a solid portfolio of images at the end. To date I have too much of varying quality, and I hope that this project will help me to find the motivation to get out and shoot the streets more often, as well as help me to focus on a particular genre of shooting and improve the overall quality of my images. Perhaps I will even begin to develop a personal style of shooting, which I have not yet found.
  3. By forcing myself to shoot regularly and often, I will make sure the project has a chance to show improvement in my work. There is a minimum of 2 rolls a week, but I may shoot more certain weeks (while traveling, if the weather is nice, etc), while understanding that certain weeks (bad weather, work/school/family commitments, etc) may not leave me as much time. By ensuring that I have to shoot at least 2 rolls, I always get out to shoot. This will hopefully help me to stay in the rhythm of it, and force me to think creatively.
  4. Timely results help to reinforce how things are going and keep me on track.
  5. Having to choose 3 shots from each roll means I will really have to edit carefully–I’d say that I generally get 6-10 “keepers” on a roll now, so that means that only the very best shots get picked as finalists.
  6. Creating a book and publishing the images will allow me to have a printed, bound, edited collection of images I can keep to remember this year of growth.
  7. I want my work to improve, and so this is an attempt to harness creativity by stifling options. When forced to do more with less, I’m hoping that I will respond with a new way of seeing things and a fresh drive to get me where I want to go.

This is the challenge that I have laid out for myself. I imagine there will be some challenges, but that is part of the fun. ¬†Overcoming and adapting to them is part of the fun, and what will–I envision–help me develop photographically and artistically.

Morrill Hall – East Lansing, MI

Though this is surely going to be littered with challenges, I think I’m ready. I want to get better with my photography and really devote serious time and attention to doing what I love; perhaps with the right push I can even get to the point that I begin to show things in public. Maybe I’ll take the leap and attempt this professionally. On the other hand, maybe I’ll hate it so much that this will drive me toward a new hobby! ¬†Seriously though, I think this will be fun and the blog will help me to remain consistent and hold me accountable for the project that I have laid out. That means I’m counting on you all to keep me honest!

The thought of doing this for a whole year is exciting, but also intimidating. What if I can’t keep up with my own rules? What if I quit? On a more pragmatic level, what happens if my camera breaks, or is stolen? The hurdles seem innumerable, but like I said, that’s part of the fun in the challenge. What good is a challenge if it doesn’t actually challenge you? Although my own sense of self-doubt is already greater than it should be, particularly when it comes to my photography, this is something that I can conquer. And, in doing so, perhaps I can get over some of my own doubts about my work.

I’ll need a lot of help from my readers to keep me going. I foresee dark days ahead, so keep me honest and help me to carry on when the going gets tough and life weighs me down. I’m not going to quit this.

A black and white year. I’m ready.

It’s on.

Angles – London

2013 in review

Well, 2013 has come to an end. I want to thank the more than 32,000 people who came to visit my blog this year. In the two years I have been doing this, over 99,000 people have visited, and almost 4,200 have chosen to follow the blog and be notified of updates and new posts as I push them out. I am stunned at the seeming popularity of the blog, and never dreamed that the hobby of one guy in Saint Paul, Minnesota would attract so much attention on the Internet. Thank you, and I hope to see you all again going forward.

Baltimore Aquarium – Baltimore, MD

Here’s an excerpt of the year-end report from WordPress.com:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 32,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 12 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

In terms of blogging, it was somewhat down from 2012, but that was mostly down to the fact that I was on the road for the first 1/3 of the year and didn’t post much during that time. I shot more film, meaning also that there was more time between making photographs and being able to post them on the Internet for all to gawk at.¬†In terms of my personal life, thing have settled quite a bit. That is a good thing, though there is less time for shooting these days. In part this is due to shorter hours of daylight during the winter, but it’s also down to the fact that I have been working a lot of hours at the job I started this past summer.

In 2014 I have some changes coming, which I will write up and post sometime tomorrow. One of which is clear to me now: I will be shooting only film for the foreseeable future. I have become disillusioned with the ease and meaninglessness of digital images. This is a personal thing, and I recognize the utility of digital imaging; for me, owing to the fact that photography is nothing more than a hobby, I have decided to make images on film as I enjoy that process more. Other changes are coming as well, but that is the big one.

Thanks everyone for a great year, and I look forward to 2014. Below are some images that I took this year that are some of my favorite. I hope you enjoy them as well.

Size – Washington, DC

Days Gone By – London, England

Sheet Music – Houston, TX

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing – New York City, NY

Spring Love – Annapolis, MD

Road – Montana

The Forest for the Trees – Yellowstone NP, Wyoming

Birds – London, England

Swimming – Pipestone, MN

First Snow – Saint Paul, MN

Tourism – Mount Rushmore, SD

Aperture – Cleveland, OH

Untitled – New York City, NY

End of the Night – Saint Paul, MN

Max – Pipestone, MN

And with that, I bid you, and 2013, adieu. I hope to see you all return for more in the coming 12 months.

-Trevor

Shuffleupagus

(Warning: this post is all about photographic equipment. If that’s not your thing, tune in tomorrow.)

After much thought about the state of my photography at the moment, I’ve decided to make a change. A pretty big change, actually. Lately I have been focused more on the equipment I’ve been using, or more appropriately, acquiring, and less of the images I’ve been producing. Or, as the case has been of late, not producing. But I’ll come back to that later.

Halloween – October, 2013

This time two years ago, I made a significant camera purchase. I upgraded my old digital camera to the Fuji X100, which I immediately fell head-over-heels in love with. Everything about it was amazing–the silent shutter, the image quality, the size of the camera, the viewfinder…I loved it. Sure, the focus wasn’t the fastest, and it some operational quirks, but it was great for me. Just this month, my camera developed SAB (sticky aperture blade), which is a well-documented problem and has plagued the X100 throughout its production. So the X100 went off to New Jersey for repairs.

The bigger thing that the X100 led me to was rangefinders. After dabbling with this rangefinder-style digital camera (yes, I’m prepared to deal with the Internet pedants who will no doubt take issue with me using the term “rangefinder” in any reference to the X100), I wondered about the real thing. The X100 was to blame for my introduction to rangefinders. As in the movie Inception, or like with the Ghostbusters theme song, once you get into your head, you can’t get it out. Soon afterward, I stumbled upon a local seller on craigslist who was selling his Minolta CL and two lenses. Needless to say, I bought it.¬†In the two years since then, I have had that CL, 2 Leica M3s, 2 Leica M6TTLs (the 0.85, then the 0.58), 2 Zeiss Ikons, and a Leica MP. I’ve had nearly every M-mount lens you could think of too–everything from 15mm to 90mm, and some of them more than once. This has gotten me back into film, where I had previously been focused on digital photography. And I do love shooting with rangefinders. I’ve also tried a number of digital cameras over the past two years too.

Bathroom Self – November, 2011

But it’s all become a bit stale recently. The main issue that I see is that my time for shooting is severely limited now; I hardly ever get a chance to go out and do what I enjoy, and with winter arriving, things aren’t going to get better in that respect. So almost as a way to stay connected, I’ve been getting more focused on the gear. That’s not to say that I wasn’t already focused on it (I’ve been a bit of a gear-head since I started getting into photography) but now it’s gone too far in that direction.¬†Another conclusion I’ve come to recently–the time is near to move on from 35mm film. I don’t think it will ever die out, and I want to still use it, but digital sensors can now match or exceed 35mm in every way (for output, the process will always be different) and to have such expensive 35mm equipment just doesn’t make sense to me anymore.

So I made the bold decision to sell it all. This is the big change I hinted at back at the start of all of this.

In the weeks since then I have diligently taken photographs of my gear, and listed most of it for sale on the Internet in various places that I use to move and (all too often) acquire photo equipment. I donated some things that weren’t worth much to a local college, and sold some things locally as well. I’ve sold a lot. If the post office had frequent flyer miles, boy, would I be rolling in them. Seriously.

I picked up a used Sony RX1 to play around with as my digital since everything else is sold, and I think that when the X100 comes back from repairs, it may be moving on as well. That’s how much I like the output of the Sony.

Which means I have very few cameras, and no plans to keep buying more.

Fresh – October, 2013

Now I’m going to spend the time that I spent on gear trying to think of new projects to shoot. Try to force myself back out there to get shooting.

The Lost Roll

Trevor in Sintra, Portugal – March 2012

As some of you may know, my wife and I recently bought and moved into a new house. When you move, things disappear and things can also reappear. The latter phenomenon recently happened to me when I found a roll of unprocessed 120 film in a box that it shouldn’t have been in. I sent it along with the rest of my film from out east to be processed, not knowing what would appear.

Then, I forgot about it.

Until my film came back and I was looking through the images. Low and behold, one roll stood out.¬†Among all of the other shots of the East Coast, there was a roll that didn’t fit. As they say in Sesame Street: “one of these things is not like the other.” There were three frames from our trip to Portugal in March 2012, and frames from our brief spell in Fargo, ND.

Castelo dos Mouros, Sintra, Portugal – March 2012

Obviously these were shot on my Holga, which my wife carried to Portugal and used (but not very much). She must have also taken the other shots since I’m in virtually every one of them. That’s strange–I can’t think of too many photographs in which I appear, as I’m almost exclusively the one making the images. In fact, I can scarcely recall a photograph of myself at all.

So what does this mean to me?

Well, the photos aren’t great but they are memories. And I guess that’s what photography, at its most base, is really about. Look, I like photography for photography’s sake as much as anyone, and I like photographic gear, and looking at images too. But memories are what photographs are about, I think. It’s about remembering things and holding on to things that we’ve seen/done/experienced.

Fargo, ND – April 2012

So why show these on the blog? Well, I find it interesting that one can “lose” images and then get them back again. I find the permanence that this indicates rather alluring; on one hand, film requires the extra steps of processing (and printing), but on the other hand, it offers a more lasting version of what’s captured. Now I know this is controversial, since many people have disagreed with me before about how digital technology is so good now that people don’t lose images on hard drives anymore when the fail, or that with a good backup and filing system they are just as good as negatives.

Well, I disagree to an extent. I think that technology is indeed good nowadays, but I still trust the permanent thing I can hold in my hand over the digital thing that I wouldn’t know how to access if my computer broke.

Lightsaber Battle – April 2012

Although I am continually lured back into the digital realm (and aren’t we all, really?), I don’t think I’ll give up on film. Little treasures like this lost roll have confirmed for me that film still has some magic about it. I hope that someday, when I’m dead and gone, my son will find a shoebox of prints, or a binder of negatives, or an unprocessed roll and remember us, and the times we had together.

And I think that the little square of magic he can hold up to the light will have a stronger impact than a file on a hard drive.

Some things that are lost can be found again.

-T

How to Edit a Photographic Project

"Father-Daughter"  -  London, England

London, England

I wrote a piece a while back about how to start a photographic project. This could be considered the second installment in that series, and will cover how to stay consistent, how to edit, and how to prepare for the final step–actually finishing the project. For the first post I wrote I used a project of mine that was in the very early stages of development, which helped to illustrate the themes I was talking about, and helped me to wrap my head around the ideas I was attempting to convey. At this point, I am going to use a project that I am working on that is nearing completion, and for the final installment I will illustrate my points with a project that is signed, sealed, and delivered.

The beginning of the project can be difficult. Finding an idea and then discovering the means to properly illustrate that idea and make photographs that convey your intent is not simple. In many ways, the next part–the middle section–is the easiest, but is also the one that is often overlooked or neglected. I won’t pretend to be the definitive authority on this process, and can really only speak about my personal experiences. Still, I hope this is helpful for those of you needing a boost with your project or are thinking of starting a project but are intimidated by all that can happen along the way.

Anchorage, Alaska

Once I’ve started a project and begun shooting images, I generally file them away and don’t do much with them. Of course, this can vary based on the time constraints you have for the project in question; it might also be impacted by the medium you choose for the project. Exposed film might be left to sit for a while, but the same is true of digital images. Simply load them onto your computer and file them according to whatever system you use. Then, do nothing. Leave them alone and let them sit is my recommendation. I generally let my film sit for a while, as I finds that this helps me to keep an emotional distance from the images themselves and to evaluate them more objectively. This is the same reason Garry Winogrand used to let film sit after exposure for a year, or longer even. He argued the same thing essentially, that the emotions a photographer has that drives them to capture the image need time to fade. Otherwise, the photographer ends up evaluating, or being influenced by, the emotions, rather than the images themselves.

For the project that is in this post, there are no pre-determined start- and end-points, meaning that it could conceivably go on indefinitely. This means that while I have the luxury of allowing the images to sit and breathe, it also means that I have to be the one to finally call time on the project when I feel it’s time. But more on that in the final installment of this series.

London, England

Editing during this middle phase of a long-term project does not need to be overly difficult or lengthy, but it is important to help you stay on track. For me, I like to go through the images routinely to see if there is something I’m missing for my vision of the project, if there is something I meant to include and haven’t, if I’ve been repeating myself too much and need to take a fresh look at the whole idea, or anything else that I might get from browsing through the set. I also take the opportunity to remove any images from the set that I feel don’t add to the set, or images that don’t stand up to a quick look through.

You may review more or less frequently, depending on what you’re shooting with. If you’re shooting with a large format camera, you may want to review more often, as each shot is more difficult to set up, and more expensive to process and print, let alone to pay for the film. If you’re shooting digital, however, you may be shooting thousands of frames, at which point you may require a regular “pruning” of your project to make sure you don’t end up with too many images to sift through in the final stages.

Minneapolis, MN

When the set starts to come together, and you feel like you’re really getting to have a solid set together, is when you need another pair of eyes to take a look through the photographs. I generally don’t like to have others view the project until I’m getting close to the end. This helps me to keep me true to the vision that I started with. Now, that’s not to say that I won’t discuss my idea or vision with anyone else–in fact, I do that routinely. What I mean is that I don’t share the photographs that are part of the project until later on, as I like to reserve most of the critique for the end when I’m editing the set down to the final selection. I only ask for critique when I’m early on or in the middle of a project from people that I trust completely; people who know me and my work, and who’s opinions on photography I trust, and who’s advice I respect. This is when the project is at its most sensitive, and needs to be treated carefully.

When reviewing your images, you may find that the project has gone in a new direction that you didn’t intend. The images may convey a feeling previously unintended but that fits; or it may be that this new direction was one that hadn’t been considered before but that just fits. After all, if you allow yourself to let go and shoot you may find that the results surprise even you. It is impossible to plan a project out completely. I have found that the best things develop organically if you let them.

Porto, Portugal

Start with an idea, review your images regularly to make sure you’re on the right track, and see where it takes you. There is a fine line between leaving your images sit too long, and reviewing them too frequently, but it’s a line that each photographer has to navigate on their own. This varies each time and depends on what you’re shooting, how long you’ve got to accomplish the project, and the medium you choose to shoot with.

I have found that the projects that have developed naturally like this have been my strongest work. Start with an idea and figure out the specifics of how you’ll go about shooting it: stylistically, what format you’ll choose, and what other parameters you decide to use to contain your project (the things that I covered in the first post). The central theme needs to come through in the images, and they need to convey the feeling of the project; when viewed as a set, the intent should be clear enough to not be ambiguous, but not heavy-handed. Being too obvious can turn away the viewer.

But again, more on that in the next post.

London, England

At some point you have to end the project, which is the final part of this series that I will post soon enough.

If you have questions, let me know in the comment field below.