Why should you bother developing a photography project?
If you are going to develop a photography project what would you do? Would you do something radically different or would you go along lines that you have already explored? What you try out new techniques or genres of photography? Would you travel to some exotic location or hunker down in you local area to really explore some aspect of your community? Questions that only you the project originator can answer, but if you look closely enough at yourself and your interests you will end up with a project that reflects you way of seeing the world that is unique to you. I had a really long time friend of my come over the other day while we where putting the front forks together on the motorbike that we are (mostly him, I am not so good with my hands) rebuilding, he came out with a line that I did not expect and felt quite flattered by. His comment to me was that I was onto something with exploration of identity, that I have been doing ever since I completed my MA in Photography and Urban Cultures at Goldsmiths and to add icing to the cake (i.e. getting the cake and eating it) he also said to me that my work was improving. This from a photographer friend who is critical (in a good way) was rather refreshing.
Anyway the point of this blog post is to say that what ever you choose to do for a photography project has to be personal otherwise you will not put the time and effort into researching and creating the project. It does not need to be grand or even a new idea but the fact that you are doing it will make it unique as you will approach your ideas differently to anyone else. This is the wonderful thing about us humans we all work differently and approach our life choices with no two sets of solutions that are the same. This is why a photography project that has been done before will still be different as you have not done it before.
Now my point of writing this post was also to say something about the value of creating a photography project, I think that it is about your development as a photographer, being able to produce a body of work that will show and reflect your way of seeing the world that is your own. It also enables you to produce new work for your portfolio, that you’ve done in your style, that will let you approach new clients with work that has been created without the interference and influence of clients. This way you are making something that will let you go towards new markets with your unique vision. Developing photography projects as a documentary photographer I think is crucial, as it lets you focus on a subject for an extended period of time and with no limitations or client expectations other than your own. This will be liberating when you are trying to make something that is socially engaged and/or critical of social and economic circumstances especially the ones that we currently find ourselves living under with them now neoliberal economic paradigm.