Keeping the Perspective
With an already full plate of photo-shoots, editing, business meetings, brainstorming/ implementing promotional and marketing plans, plus every other job that goes along with running a freelance photography business; why would someone take on the task of self assigning extra photo projects?
My answer(s). To keep searching out new perspectives and techniques. To become better at the craft. To continuously pay your dues. Because you can.
In my case. At the end of each year I brainstorm out some concepts and ideas of different assignments that I would like to photograph for no other reason than the personal satisfaction of doing so, and then I couple it with either some new or renewed technique(s) that I want to explore, and like that. A self assignment is born.
These last 2 years in particular I’ve begun to delve even deeper into the inspiration behind the idea of the self assignment. Instead of just occasionally filling up blank times here and there with an idea that I’ve had bouncing around in my head. I’ve dedicated myself to year long projects. For instance, last year I created the project, “Subject 366”. A year long assignment that was based around photographing “something” each day which was separate from any other day to day shooting that I happened to be doing. It had to be something special – just for the project. An idea that has been pursued before for sure, but, A. I wanted to do it for myself, and, B. It was a leap year, so I got an extra day to photograph!
As it turned out, not only was it one of the hardest and most challenging assignments that I’ve ever done, but even more importantly, it was one of the most educational processes that I’ve ever went through. Including college! I shot the project with all of my different cameras, lenses and lighting equipment throughout the year, even including my iPhone, and I must say that the technical end was helpful in so many different ways that it would be very difficult to explain them all. On the other side of it, not only had I gained new knowledge about some techniques and features of my equipment throughout the course of the year that I hadn’t known about. Again, always a helpful thing, however the biggest lesson that I learned was, images are really only limited by imagination, inspiration and ingenuity. The equipment used is definitely a factor, but a secondary one as compared to the eye.
By no means did I conquer or even master any of these new insights. But they definitely gave me things to think about.
As for this year. It was inspired by the new travel camera my wife bought me in Salzburg last Christmas. It’s a small, pocket size, but incredibly versatile Leica C. It has amazing optics with a good zoom lens (around a 28mm-200mm?), full manual override on all of the features including focus and ISO, and again, the camera’s about the size of a pack of cards. Something that’s very important to me when I travel, but camera equipment/choices for travel is another blog all on its own, so back to this assignment. This year is all about making a single image to be displayed each week, but only using the Leica for the project. It’s entitled. “Leica View 52”.
So far, it’s been a fun and rather artsy project. By all means it has had its challenges, but it’s also been much more of a relaxed and uniquely personal project than last years. Someone even mentioned that this project has given them “a glimpse into how I perceive the world”, which, to me, was an amazing comment to receive. It wasn’t so much about my art, but about how I view the world, and their interest in that. Truly humbling to the core. Makes me even more inspired to see where this project goes throughout the rest of the year!
And that’s really it. Self assignments should be all about learning and loving.
Set out with the intention of learning some new techniques and applications that your equipment has to offer, or refresh yourself on some of things you already know, but base the assignment on something that intrigues or inspires you. Do it for yourself. Do it to continue learning. Do it for the love of photography. Do it because you can.
Until next time. Much love and anything for the shot!