Of late I’ve started to think that I should work on a “Project” again (again as in thinking I should, not having done one before) as I don’t seem to be photographing much for myself but more for other people. I enjoy this and sometimes it brings in a few pennies but all too often the editing can take weeks of my free time evenings which on occasion can be fulfilling but when it continues for many evenings can drag on.
One issue I’ve had with thinking of topics to cover is that they all seem to have been done already or are too obvious e.g. the view out of windows in my life (home, office, bus etc). Reading through photography blogs and magazines pro-photographers seem to start personal projects for two reasons A. Just as a creative output for themselves, but also B. to create something interesting and (arguably) innovative so that it can show their prospective clients or peers something new and a reason to pay attention to them. So it’s this later point which I find troublesome.
I am rather averse to doing work (photography) that is too similar to to others or making use of other people’s work – it’s for this reason I generally don’t photograph statues or graffiti. If I took such photographs I wouldn’t consider myself the major contributor to the end piece and so not really my work. I would of course be happy to photograph such things for the purpose of documenting them – but not to present it as my own “art”.
This also leads on to one of my pet hates – such projects that are every repeating. Reading many photography articles and blogs as I do all TOO OFTEN you se the same thing coming up time and again. Often presented as being quirky, different or innovative – but since I’ve seen it all before – not in my mind. Common examples would be levitation photographs (where people seem to be hanging in mid air, either vertical or unusual poses) – my most hated, Fashion shoots using powder, under water fashion shoots, etc I could go on.
HOWEVER I recently watched this TED talk by Kirby Ferguson – he was the person who made the Remix videos that made the rounds a while ago but the Ted talk encapsulates some of those areas. It’s interesting – take a look:
And it’s started me thinking – is it too bad if I do something that’s been done before ? It might even be really hard to actually find something that someone somewhere hasn’t done before with photography in terms of projects. As long as I choose something without being influenced by someone else to omuch (i.e. doing something because X person has, or I’ve seen another person’s effort), and that I make it my own, not copying others too much – then it might not be too bad. E.g. there has been quite a strong resurgence in light painting photography recently – and even though it’s not a new thing (See Picasso doing some) I appreciate it as some of the recent results have been fantastic – check out Dennis Calvert.
So – maybe time to let go of the hangup of doing something that may have been done before…..
Let’s see what I choose.
I’m still not touching “levitation” photography though 😉
Here are the rest of the Remix videos from http://www.everythingisaremix.info/