Sunday, October 4, 2009

Projects – On the Water in Southern Maryland

Solomons Marina
For some time now, I have been increasingly thinking of my photography in terms of projects.  I have always been self-aware of the subjects I enjoy photographing as well of those I want to include in my portfolio.  But in the last few months my photography became a bit more focused as I began to think of it in terms of projects (of course with the exception of the ongoing HDR experiment…a completely different type of project).
Solomons Marina-2
At the moment, I am clear on four distinct projects with a possible fifth emerging.  The four projects I am now working on are:
  1. The Unfamiliar Abu Dhabi (the Abu Dhabi you don’t get to see on the Travel Channel – see my recent post on The Unfamiliar Abu Dhabi that introduced this project).
  2. The Unseen Washington (much like the Abu Dhabi project, this project will focus on some of the very interesting aspects of DC that tourists don’t see which kicked off with The Bridge Spot and The Bridge Spot II).
  3. (Un)Focus on DC (a body of work comprising diptychs of intentionally unfocused shots – see Focus Pocus II – paired with clearly focused shots.  BTW, if you don’t know what a diptych is, don’t worry, I will talk about them in a future post).
  4. On the Water in Southern Maryland (kinda self explanatory – water, seascape, nautical photography from Southern Maryland).
Solomons Marina-3
The photography featured in this post come from the Southern Maryland water project.  Each of these photographs come from Calvert Marina in Solomons Maryland.
Solomons Marina-4
Back to the subject of projects.  So some of the questions that might arise regarding this subject are a) why?  b) how did I arrive at these projects? and c) what do I plan to do with these projects?  I’m sure there are a number of other good questions, but let’s start with these.
Solomons Marina-5
Of the three questions, I have reasonably good answers for two.  First, why a project?  Thinking of photography in terms of a project;
  1. Bounds your subject matter, which can enhance creativity.
  2. Provides focus and purpose.
  3. Forces you to find the exceptional photograph rather than shooting and moving on.
  4. Encourages you to plan your photography.
Solomons Marina-6
How did I arrive at these four projects?
  1. The subjects are of interest to me.
  2. They offer a unique perspective on the familiar.
  3. Opportunity staring me in the face (otherwise known as chance).
  4. I already have a number of photographs that contribute to each project…one day they just said “we deserve to be recognized!”
Solomons Marina-7
And finally the third question; what do I plan to do with these projects.  I do not have a good answer.  I see several possibilities, but for the moment, I believe I will simply enjoy the photography.
Solomons Marina-8
Go make some great photography!


  1. Craig,
    Excellent advice! Keeps it simple. I would also suggest that thinking in terms of projects can assist in organizing previous work. Once grouping images into projects, one might even consider revisiting a set for alterations in post processing to get a standardized impact.


  2. John,

    Great point! As I gained clarity on these projects,I have revisted photos in my portfolio that can add to the project. Ultimately, all the photographs will require a final assessment/round of alterations to achieve a consistent approach.

    I often resist the temptation to go back and process/edit a photograph again...even though some clearly deserve it! Every day we learn more and get better, both with respect to initially capturing the photograph and post-processing. This means that everything I have ever done before today could likely be improved by running it through the mill one more time. I find that if I allow myself to think about this (much less act on it!!) I head down the path toward obsession based insanity.

    Therefore, I try to stick to the mantra that what I did last year, represents a point in my photographic development and is important for that reason...leave it alone. Of course, a project is a unique case with a unique purpose. Editing for consistency is a clear necessity.

    Thanks for the comment!