As a small “guide” for those seeking to create their own photography projects/series, could you tell us how do you come about creating a series? What would be an overall of your process since the conception to the end? Nothing is implicit.
Projects and series come about in many different ways and there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ in creating one. It goes without saying that the process of editing, sequencing, meditating upon and consolidating the photographs one makes into a meaningful project takes a long time – sometimes years. My advice to anyone undertaking or contemplating a street photography project would be to take a step back from your work and question the meaning and purpose of the images. You need to ask yourself why your pictures matter and to whom they matter. You have to ask “what do I want to show as opposed to what I want to tell the viewer?” Is it a project about life at a certain time in a particular place; is it a project about you and your experiences, perceptions or ways of seeing; or is it a project about something particular like an emotion, theme or motif? What can you say with your images that other photographers have not/ cannot say themselves and more authentically than you? Where does your idea/ project depart from those which have already portrayed similar subject matter in substantial bodies of photographic work? They’re tough questions, but this is why making a worthwhile project or series is so difficult.
Often projects begin with a clear idea, however, this is something I’ve struggled with and my series In visible light instead came from amassing many thousands of images over the last few years and then using them to interrogate my way of seeing, my experiences, and my emotional response to the world around me. Once I began to see patterns and themes emerge in what I was drawn to photographing, I began to distil the images into a clearer narrative shape that was sequenced to reflect what I wanted to show the viewer. This began with looking at a rough edit of what I considered to be my strongest images and working out what I liked about them. Sometimes it was the subject or moment, sometimes the depth in the composition, sometimes the colours, shapes or symbols in the frame, and more often than not the play of light and shadow. I used these insights then to go back over a broad edit of a few hundred images and tried to find connections between them. To make this process more manageable, I worked with 6X4 prints and spread them out the floor or stuck them to the walls. This allowed visual comparisons between photos and the ability to shuffle them around quickly to play with different combinations and sequences. A few things became clear at this stage – that I wanted the series to evoke the emotional experiences I had in relocating to Sydney, and that I wanted to work from light to dark. After much experimentation, trial and error, frustration and second guessing I had the series narrowed down to 70 images. I then worked with small prints once again, made more cuts and have arrived at an edit for In visible light. We’ll see if I’m still satisfied with it in a few months time.