Coming up with project ideas


#1

So, after just shooting randomly for a while, just to take confidence with the camera and to start exercising my vision and thinking while taking photos around, I feel ready to step up a little bit and to actually go out with a project/idea in mind (a lot of people advised me to do that, so I have to try).

My question is: given that I want to go on with street/urban photography, how would you conceive a project idea?

I mean. Do you usually come up with something structured or is more a general theme? Right now I started by writing a list of things I want to do (like, say, find sadness and solitude, or shoot personal transportation) but it seems to me a little naive and not so original.

So I really like to have some insights from you about how to actually decide what to shoot and how to conceive a successful photowalk :slight_smile:
Thanks!


#2

Nothing naive or un-original about that.
If you feel like capturing sadness or solitude it will be your idiosyncratic way of doing so. The same goes for your idea of doing something on the theme of personal transportion: what might appear a pedestrian (pun intended) project to some, can become your very individual and subjective view of the world.
The main thing is, that when you come home and you take the pix off you card after a few days (I always wait a few days to get some emotional distance between myself and the new work) and you load them into your software of choice to do any post-processing, that you find yourself in those images.
Even though many of us showcase our ‘art’ on instagram or similar, and presumably some produce art for likes and followers, in reality it is completely immaterial what others may think. Either they will ‘get’ your picture or they won’t.
The true success of a photowalk is when you look at the results after a while and say: YAY. that was a good one. (Or when you say: Hmmm … I coulda done that a bit different - guess I’ll try next time)

I tried to do a project about dogs once, but I found out that that is not quite the way I seem to work. All the same there are some recurrent themes in my photography over the years.


#3

I found these cards are a cool way to come up with ideas on what to shoot especially until you get to finding out what you like to shoot https://lightbox-photography-cards.myshopify.com/products/lightbox-photography-cards-super-combo

It’s an idea a week.


#4

I’m a big believer in personal projects, and I’m usually running two or three at once, plus they never really finish to be honest

IMO, sometimes we can start off with an idea that’s a bit to open… this can be ok, as I think we tend to hone in on what we really want as we take more pictures and the concept evolves.

My ‘By the Sea’ series started off as ‘costal isolation’ but over time it changed what it was about. It kept isolation as a theme, but it became more an undercurrent, or put another way - I stopped looking for people looking miserable on the beach, and started looking for people engaged in an isolated way with their surroundings

I digress…

If you set out too shoot say, (and I don’t mean to be deliberately facetious, it’s just easier to make my point) red cars or people wearing blue hats, then you’ll quickly know if you have a shot that fulfils your brief.

But if you set out to shoot things like happiness, joy or desperation, it can be a bit of creative quagmire as these subjects can be subjective

I’m not trying to dissuade you from pursing these example themes (and their ilk) but sometimes it’s better to aim for something quite specific, then understand the additional nuances and depth that these projects can bring - continuing my silly example, if set out to shoot people wearing blue hats, then you might end up with a series on happiness and joy (if it transpires that people wearing blue hats tend to look happy)

To pursue project ideas around emotion, I’d personally start by thinking about what the emotion looks like to you in a picture, then set about trying to capture it, then regularly review what you’ve got to see how it’s in keeping with the original concept.

Sorry to ramble on a bit…


#5

Hey, thanks!
This is exactly the sort of information I was looking for.