Monday, November 19, 2012

Where Do Projects Come From?

That's never an easy question to answer, regardless of your chosen media or your personal work style.

For me projects usually come about as I start to recognize a body of work developing as I go about shooting day after day. I'll notice something on the street or shoot from a perspective I've not tried before. As I explore this new subject or point of view I may see some sort of story or narrative developing, and that usually happens as I start asking my self the "I wonder" questions.

"I wonder why that woman is in such a hurry?"

"I wonder if other people around here are in a hurry?"

"I wonder what this street corner would look like at lunch time through a 20mm lens?"

"I wonder what kind of images I would get shooting through the window of a moving bus?"

That's actually the project I'm working on now: "Through the Bus Window." In a previous post, "An Old Dog's New Tricks," I talked about exploring the various program settings on my auto focus cameras which I had always thought less than favorably of - the settings not the cameras.

My first experiment was shooting pictures through the window on the bus ride home one afternoon. It was the light of that time of day that inspired me to shoot just then and I happened to be on a bus so there was little else to do but shoot out the window. Once the film was processed and I saw the images I was satisfied that the program settings worked well enough, but I was really excited by the images themselves. 

I started looking for opportunities to shoot pictures through bus windows and I started hearing the "I wonder" questions.
"I wonder if I can find a window with just enough grime to shoot through and not lose the image?"

"I wonder where those people on the sidewalk will all end up tonight?"

"I wonder if those people are tourists from Europe or Idaho?"

So, "Through the Bus Window" is starting to take shape and I'm having a blast doing it. I'm also taking pictures in a way that's new to me and there is a lot of chance involved and a lot of not knowing how it's all going to come out, which I find quite refreshing.

Best of all I'm getting those "I wonder" questions, one of which may actually turn me on to my next project.

Photo: ©2012 David W. Sumner