Projects have become a special item for me. Alain Briot taught me about projects. A project is a collection of images tied together artistically. It may be a location or subject, but the project is tied together by its uniformity of presentation. In Alain’s teaching paradigm, projects lead to a personal style. In my opinion Alain’s brilliance among all other educators is his emphasis on developing a personal style.
A project is a gallery of sorts, but one that has a thematic and artistic tie that presents the images as a piece or as a whole. A project’s benefit is that it shows you can produce more than one good image of a particular style. It develops the ability to see, compose, process, and present multiple images in a consciously chosen and unified style that progressively represents a personal artistic style.
All of us have random good images, but working on a project or having unfinished projects in mind on a shoot helps focus one’s work. It also limits possibilities and forces the photographer to get away from taking pictures of any- and everything. Its limitations force greater creativity in vision and image acquisition.
It took me several years to understand that limiting possibilities freed the imagination and creativity. I now see this to be true.
Projects are a way of forcing limitations, that then forces greater creativity. We assume greater limitations equals greatly reduce creativity. Ironically and paradoxically, that is not true.
Alain has said that artists progress by doing projects. Some projects may be mini-projects that are time constrained. I did two projects on the Colorado bristlecones, each of which were 30 minutes. Others may take years to complete. Projects can be of as little or many images as one wishes, though it does make sense that the more in the project, the greater the difficulty. As of this time I have defined my projects as a minimum of 6 fine art images.
During my last visit with Alain, he made it clear that I was now in the place where projects were to be my path.
I have posted several projects that are finished enough to present. Some go back several years. The Mono Lake project is my latest, and I think my best so far in terms of cohesion (according to informed critique).
As my journey continues, I will be working on more projects that have been started and some that are in the formative stages. As these conclude, I will post them in the projects folder and send an announcement. I will probably even add to some as time goes on.