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What makes a project?

A lot of photographers have one or more projects on the go at any one time. I’ve never really done that intentionally, but to be fair I’ve never really done much intentionally as I’ve always avoided plans but that’s another story.

I think (ok, I know) it would help my photography if I did. It would give a focus to the images I’m trying to make at any given time and I do seem to spend an inordinate amount of time procrastinating and not making images.

But what makes a “project”?

Project: Trichome?

As you might have seen I’ve spent quite a large part of 2021 making Trichrome images. Experimenting with different cameras, formats, filters and lengths of exposure I’ve learnt a lot about the process and have a semblance of control about what I can produce with it but that in itself doesn’t make a project does it? 🤷‍♂️

Landguard Point Trichrome, Felixstowe
Project: Breaking prejudices?

I’ve had some long held photography prejudices that have led me a merry dance down the GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) path. I’ve recently been exploring 35mm film again with the help of a Horizon S3 Pro, Ilford HP5, Perceptol and having a blast doing do. Playing with a Camera/Film combo doesn’t make a project either though does it? 🤔

Cobbolds' Point and Felixstowe Docks
Project: Holga flare?

As part of my “breaking prejudices” I’ve tried a Holga out for size. The lack of exposure control and limited focus control has been rather eye opening and liberating. One of the “features” of a Holga that has intrigued me has been how it “handles” sun flare. I’ve tried to incorporate that into as many Holga images as I can to see what happens. That doesn’t make a project either surely? 🤦‍♂️

Holga flare 😎
What makes a project then?

Who’s to say what defines what a project is. I know it’s not enough to be about experimenting with a technique, playing with a camera/film combo or “abusing” a camera feature. It’s surely about producing a set of images that have some kind of “message” as a whole rather than a collection of images that have something superficial that links them.

That’s where I come unstuck. I don’t know how to go about finding a “thing” or “things” to make projects around. As an completely untrained photographer/artist I’ve had no formal education or help about how to develop this part. At my stage of photography I know I can make an image out of most things with most cameras in most circumstance. What I need to nurture and develop now is using that ability to make something “worthwhile”.

What do you do? How do tackle this? Are there any courses or books you’ve found useful? Let me know.


This article was originally posted on my Revue/Twitter "All the formats" platform which I have now deactivated. Sorry if you've already read this before but feel free to comment.

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