The aim of this photography project is to deal with something that I see as a problem with my photography: if you look at my portfolio, you would think it had been created by a number of different photographers. Although there are a number of strong individual images, there is no consistency of style or subject matter across images.
Part of the reason for that is I like to explore different styles and subjects: for me, this is what photography is about. Rather than shoot what I know, I like to shoot what I want to learn about. But I also think it lays me open to being characterised as an “ADHD photographer”.
Although I have no plans to be a photographer who focuses on one thing (like portraits only or landscapes only) I do want to prove (to myself) that I can create a body of work that looks like it was created by a single photographer. It may even help me decide on a particular subject, treatment or style that I decide to pursue (although that’s not the goal).
So the project is titled “12stories”. The aim is to do one story per month. Within each story, I want to create a consistent body of work. For example, one story could be a series of portraits, all lit and posed in the same way (think Regina Pagles). Another might be a series of portraits that are all post-processed in the same way (think Joel Grimes). Another story could be environmental portraits on a similar theme (like local shopkeepers). Another story might be landscapes all shot with the same lens, or all shot to emphasise sky, or cloud movement. Another story might mix the subject (landscapes and portraits) but all be processed in the same way (like b&w). Another story might be “shot on an iPhone”. Yet another might be the old chestnut where you photograph letters or numbers found in nature. Another might be diptychs that contrast close-up detail with a wide shot of the same subject. I’m not short of ideas for the individual stories and I’m also happy to decide month by month what the story should be depending on where I’m travelling to or depending on what photo opportunities arise.
Some constraints I’d like to add:
I like this project because it allows me to be varied in subject matter but should also force me to be consistent in treatment and style (at least for a month). I don’t care if month to month the treatment varies (in fact I hope it does) but within a story, I want to force myself to be consistent. People should say, “The photographs in that story look like they were shot by the same photographer”. At the same time, if they say, “Each story looks like it was shot by a different photographer,” I can live with that.
This feels like my 52portraits project in that I feel challenged by it but also excited by it at the same time.
Right. It’s the beginning of October. Let’s start.