“Finding the Project”

I’ve been thinking a lot about projects lately. Trying to define my work, complete projects that I’ve started – preferably before I start new ones, but that never happens. I’ve gone back to the basic definition of “project” to help remind myself of my goals, both long and short term.

            Project:  noun /’prä- jekt/

  1. An individual or collaborative enterprise that is carefully planned and designed to achieve a particular aim.

Okay, so that seems simple enough, right? Not really. I have a notebook full of ideas; I have processed film in piles (waiting on me to make the time to print), and so many ideas that pull me in different directions. I often feel that it is tough to concentrate on one thing only. And, that whole bit about “carefully planned and designed,” well, I feel a little scattered and haphazard more often than not, but I get the job done. At least I do know what “particular aim” I want to achieve.

So, what is that one thing I really want to focus on right now? Second Amendment. I talked about this project earlier this year in my February 29 blog post. I mentioned a couple of photographers – one gone, George Barnard (Civil War era), and one living, Robert Adams (contemporary landscape), whose work continually inspires me. I have been back out shooting for this purpose specifically, and I have more trips planned to finish this project off. Or, is a project like this ever really finished?

Maybe I need to set more goals? What do I want out of this project? Well, just to get it out of my system for starters, as I am pretty passionate about this issue. And, I would like a new 20-plus image body of work as I have ideas for an exhibit swirling around.

Oh, and let me explain the title. It’s not mine. It is the title of a wonderful essay by Brooks Jensen, photographer and editor of Lenswork magazine. His essay by this title is a wonderful and inspirational boost to help creative types navigate our way through projects – finding a project, discovering the “angels in the details,” and sticking with a project to see it through. He says, “Moving beyond the obvious is a creative act and one that often is both the challenge and the reward for the artist.” In other words, take those obvious shots, maybe the sweeping views we try to contain in our viewfinders, and then look for the emotion, the details, and continue your pursuit. Sage advice…and a good article!

For this week, here is a stop sign I found battered and shot, while on our recent escapades shooting Second Amendment. Even though this sign signals you to stop, its condition speaks volumes, and tells me to go…keep on going.

Stop, or not...
Stop, or not…
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