Monday, June 27, 2011

The Power of Photographic Projects

Finding Inspiration Close to Home

I've read it and I've heard it.  Photographers and teachers I respect say that having a project is the best way to improve our output.  Six out of ten artists (or something like that) say their inspiration comes from working on a project.  Who am I to argue.

This is what George Barr has to say about projects, in his recently released book, Why Photographs Work: 52 Great Images ... Who Made Them, What Makes Them Special and Why:

Photographic projects can be as short as an afternoon or as long as a lifetime.  They can run uninterrupted for months or even years or be revisited occasionally as the opportunity presents.  Regardless of how a photographer chooses to approach a project, the power, unity, and worth of a collection of related yet unique images is to be highly recommedned and is a test of the true mettle of a serious photographer. [p. 32]

But I'm basically lazy and a slackard.  How can I make my laziness almost irrelevant?  What kind of project can I do every day with almost no effort?  What doesn't involve any travel?  What can I do if I only have 10 minutes?  What lets me find something new in the ordinary, something new in the already-done, something new in the been-there-before? 

There's a project I've already sunk waist deep into.  It started last December before I even know it was a project.  But when I found I kept going back to it, and always finding something fresh to photograph when I did, I guess it turned itself into a project.  I call it Project 150 because all images are within 150 feet of my front door.  Since this is an urban house lot in a development built in the late 1950's, this 150 foot limit brings me to the farthest reaches of my property line, and well beyond.

Here's the first photograph I made for the project's portfolio.  As usual, click on the image for a full screen view.

And here are four more images from the project.

The complete work in progress is available for viewing at my gallery website, .  Click on the Portfolio key at the top of the home page.  It is in the portfolio titled Project 150.  I'll be adding to it regularly, and will stop at the 150th image.

As always, I welcome your responses.

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