Long term projects

Discussion in 'Photographic Aesthetics and Composition' started by darkosaric, Apr 30, 2014.

  1. darkosaric

    darkosaric Subscriber

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    Hi all,

    Not sure in which forum should I put this question...

    I never did any long term projects, but starting to be interested in doing one. I know that some did Polaroid a day, some take 1 photo a day for whole year, some take pictures of the same tree in 4 seasons ... but I would like to heard from you: what do you think is a good idea for long running project?

    What is the longest project you have done, or read about?

    Regards,
     
  2. yurisrey

    yurisrey Member

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    Four years ago I was a partner in a Multimedia firm and I helped our landlord to scan and compile a coffee table book called "Trash Pails and Travel Tales." For the past thirty years or more she and her husband have been traveling the world taking photos of trash cans and recycling bins. The only continent that was missing was Antarctica, instead she took a picture of a trash bin on the deck of the cruise ship she was on with glaciers in the background.
     
  3. AgX

    AgX Member

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    I'm consideríng a-camera-a-day use. But this rather is a technical project as many cameras are similar in their affect on the way one photographs.
     
  4. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    The longest I've read of is Edward Curtis's project of photographing the native Americans. It was his life as long as health permitted.

    I keep going to the same beaches and woods to photograph for the past several years.
     
  5. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    Twenty-two or so years ago I spent almost every Saturday morning traveling from one end of many of the major streets in Miami photographing painted walls. To make a long story short, I managed to meet one of the "street artists" who would call me to tell me the location of his latest work. We actually had a joint exhibition in a gallery. Since some of the streets went through rough sections of town a number of my photographs were taken out of my car window with the engine running. The project ended when I almost had to use my camera attached to the neck strap as a weapon against a very aggressive vagrant. I ended up with over one hundred prints.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  6. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Photography is my life-long project, but I do have some sub-projects. Photographing my triplets (now 17 yrs-old), photographing along Prairie Creek (going on since 1978) and sometimes combining the two...

    Three Boys, Three Snags, 2008
    Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park, CA
    Carbon Print
     

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  7. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    For a long time I take pictures of old things. Old barns, farms, cars, etc.

    Jeff
     
  8. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    My long running project is to find a long running project also.
     
  9. cliveh

    cliveh Subscriber

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    I have several long term projects in progress and I sometimes wonder if I will ever complete them. One I started about 6 years ago, I may yet finish, but it is an interesting question. If you set yourself a project and try to complete it without any timescale in mind, you may find it changes over time and this is where creativity can really develop from what you originally thought was just a good idea and then it develops into something else. This is creativity in the making and I recommend it to the house.
     
  10. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    It was 1986 when my photography changed direction, up until then I;d been working professionally but mu personal work had no real structure.

    One of my first projects began while shooting in the Welsh landscape (1986) and I was due to exhibit some of the work in the early 1990's, I'd already exhibited other work, but instead another more local (and practical) project took precedence because I had Arts funding. However the Welsh work continues 28 years later.

    I've other long term projects but a move abroad for a few years and then 3 years as carer for my mother menans there's a lot of catching up nto do'

    Ian
     
  11. jovo

    jovo Membership Council Council

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    My long term project is with the slave cabins of Kingsley Plantation some photographs of which I've posted here. Because I've not tried to hurry it along, I've had little epiphanies that time has let ripen. I was really conflicted about photographing their remarkably abstract qualities, but that alone did not acknowledge the reality of what these cabins were which would trivialize them. But, merely documenting them as structures however artfully ignores their abstract qualities. So, the little epiphany has been to do both, and, when given context by the essay I'm writing, I anticipate that each will compliment the other. The essay, too, will be gradually better informed by the accumulation of research that only time can allow. No one ever has infinite time for anything, but I'm going to overrule my instinct to wrap it up and take as much time as I can to make it the best I can.
     
  12. NB23

    NB23 Member

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    My long term project is shooting the people of Serbia. 150 kodachrome rolls yet to be scanned. And printing all my best on 20x24 fb. I'm onto my 600th print and about double that to go to catch up to 2013. Until then I'll probably be in 2017 with a new stash of films to print, leading me to 2025. It's all cool. I love it. Started in '94... Probably never gonna stop. The end of this project will be when I die, I guess.

    I'd love to make a book but I'm tangled with these huge prints, I just can't scan them. And I don't want to go through another super tedious round of printing on smaller paper. So a book is out of the question. My prints will finish, signed and numbered, in piled boxes for the next 50
    Years or until someone will want to mess with them. I've created a monster and I don't want to deal with it. For bow I'm just stacking... And stacking... And stacking.
     

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  13. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    i have a one that i have been doing since about 1986
    its photographing strangers ...
     
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  15. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I've been photographing the many little local creeks on winter mornings, on 5x7, for the last four or five years. Most of it is on slide film, and I think I'll declare it done when I run out of my stash of Provia; but that should be a good several years yet. (Originally I meant to do slide film only, but I did some studies in b&w that turned out to be keepers.)

    -NT
     
  16. Dr Croubie

    Dr Croubie Member

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    Not sure if it was really intended to be a project, but this comes to mind...

    (as does this, and this).
     
  17. TheToadMen

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    Several years ago I got me an Olympus Mju II camera (a very fine small camera) to shoot one image every day. Just where I was. With ten rolls you could register the whole year. Putting all the shots in a row as a series will tell you something about your daily live.

    When my daughter was born, I was sitting every day in the same chair, feeding her a bottle of milk for a few years. And again 2,5 years later when my second daughter was born. I had quality time to think and look out of the window for over a period of 5 years. When sitting there I could see one tree in front of our house. The top of the tree had two small twigs (a bit like a fork) in its top. I saw these two twigs grow over the years into big branches. When I go back there (now 17 years later) I can still recognize these two branches. I wish I made a shot of it every week or so over these years.

    I saw a project of a man, making a self portrait every day for over 30 years. Every morning a portrait of himself looking into his bathroom mirror. I believe he started when he was 18 or so.

    I know someone who takes a pinhole shot everyday during lunch or diner, see: http://pinholediary.tumblr.com

    I'm thinking of planting a tree myself in my garden and photograph it every month for the next few years.

    Try to think of something you would like to see as a series. Like watching the same subject change over the years (view from a window, persons, tree, street view), a time laps project (field of flowers over all seasons, window of a store), all the ... in a certain area (houses, people, animals, visitors, billboard, park entrances). all the ... around the world (like the mentioned dustbins or painted walls).

    Then think how you will execute it. What equipment do you need, how often do you need to make a shot and can you make it on time, do or don't you want to make time an important factor of the project, how accessible is the subject, ...
    And how will you present the results of your project: on a weekly or monthly basis, not until the project is finished after ... years or shots, as a book, blog, exhibition, a thread here on APUG with updates from time to time, .....

    If you have some ideas about these questions, just make a start and see where it will bring you. Give yourself room to change any or all factors in your project. And please keep us posted of your progress.

    And remember: The important part is not the goal (to be) reached, but the road itself!


    Wow, you made me think about my own project again. Thank you for that!!
    Bert from Holland
    http://thetoadmen.blogspot.nl
     
  18. pdeeh

    pdeeh Member

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    I did a photo-a-day for a little over a year. It definitely improved my photography, and I found it an interesting, creative and learning experience. Not everybody's cup of tea of course.


    Not sure if a couple of years counts as a long-term project, but ...

    Fairly shortly after starting to use film again, I conceived a hankering to make some photographs using a particular LF process; I haven't been able to achieve it in it's final form, but I've been gathering material, experience, equipment and skills for a couple of years now. I've used other formats to test ideas and unfamiliar processes which might be applied to the end I'm seeking.

    Some of these investigations have been blind (but interesting) alleys, others helpful, still others just of no interest or current use to me at all. It'll probably be a few months yet before I get to try out what I want, but in the meantime I've acquired a broader knowledge of photographic processes than I might otherwise have done. And of course incorporated most of what I've learned into the kind of snapping I do most days, and started to find a mode of expression that fits me rather than be poor pastiche of others'.

    So I'd second cliveh's motion.
     
  19. TheToadMen

    TheToadMen Subscriber

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    Hi NB23,
    What a beautiful project! And the attached file of the prints show some fine prints. It would be a shame to only stack these beauties in boxes.
    I would love to see these in real live. Are you in Europe somewhere? (I'm in Holland).
    Scanning might be a problem with these sizes. But did you consider using a digital camera instead of a scanner? I have a nice setting with my DeVere 8x10" enlarger for analogue repro work. This could also be used for making a good digital repro image of an original print without quality loss. These digital images could be used for making a book. Or be posted on a blog from time to time.
    If you really could use someone to help with this project, you can call me (or send a PM).

     
  20. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    In the ten years that I have been retired I have taken university courses in photography. In the advanced classes students, young and old, are required to put ten 11x14 prints or larger up for critique every two weeks. By the end of the term each student has a series of twenty theme related work, matted and over-matted, printed to as close to show quality as they can attain.

    One image can be luck or an interesting experience. A series requires a thought, a plan, much work, revision, a concept and often evolution of the basic idea. Many of the comments in this thread support that. A series can produce a book. Galleries seek that continuity. Masters of Fine Art programs require it.

    Limited geography becomes an asset. You can’t afford to fly back across a continent to reshoot mistakes or add another shot or two as the subject expands or evolves. Sixteen weeks of a college term can be a limit, but this university encourages students to allow a series to expand over several terms.

    In 2008 The Western Reserve Historical Society gave me $1000 for framing supplies and hung thirty of my 7x17 OH & Erie Canal images for fifteen months. My second series was 11x14 prints from 8x10 negatives of the Ohio Farm Museum in Richfield. The private museum collects farm implements and buildings from the 1800s. At my age entropy is in all aspects of my life. I am now two years into a 7x17 series on the Cleveland Flats. All three series have been within thirty miles of home. Following is my most recent artist statement.

    The Cleveland Flats. This series is about the crooked Cuyahoga River as it enters Lake Erie. It is about the bridges that cross the river, the ships and boats in the river, the industry and loss of industry in the Flats, juxtaposed with the modern skyline of the city of Cleveland. It is about the huge differences in size in this area, the mysteries of scale; giant bridges and ships, beside single track rail bridges and small tug boats. It is about construction and destruction, new buildings and old. It is about the history of the area and watching it evolve. It is about using a 7”x17” panorama camera to capture all the above in the highest detail possible.

    I think working in series has made photography much more rewarding for me. I hope it will be so for you.

    John Powers
     
  21. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    I should add that the class requirements help organize the student’s thoughts and plans. An outline is given from a MFA program and the student writes a five page paper answering as many of the questions as he can. The thought process for the paper develops the series idea. The Abstract often becomes a brief artist’s statement such as the above.

    Attached are a few images from the first term of the Flats series. In a week we will have a final critique of the second term’s work. I am carefully spotting and matting the final images.

    John

    _PDSC0842.jpg _PDSC0848.jpg _PDSC0866.jpg _PDSC0868.jpg
     
  22. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    a few more.
    John

    _PDSC0872.jpg _PDSC0875.jpg _PDSC0881.jpg _PDSC0890.jpg
     
  23. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    I'm doing an instant shot each week for this year. It's helping me to use my new 4x5 and think about movements as well as the practice of setting it up and taking it down. I've been doing mostly still life shots so far, but hope to do more in the field now that it isn't -10 with a 30 mph wind.


    I've also done a project (though it isn't really ever going to be done) of areas within Ohiopyle State Park. I'm planning to photograph all the libraries in SW Iowa (someone recently put out a book of library photos so this is copying their idea, but oh well…). I might try to do all the churches around here, too.
     
  24. winger

    winger Subscriber

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    And John's projects are impressive when you see the actual prints all together. Well thought out and well printed.
     
  25. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Thanks Beth. I will not soon forget mentioning to you that the 6 state regional contest we were entering in Oberlin, Ohio suggested white mats only and then I eating platefuls of humble pie as you walked away with your black mats and two of the juror's five $100 awards. Mutual admiration society.

    A thought on your library idea. In 2008 Michael Mutmansky, my 7x17 mentor, had a show of Pennsylvania post office images. It seems that during the depression many of PA's post offices had large murals painted of workers doing the work they most wanted to do. Perhaps there is something like that in the home locations of thread writers here that would make a good series.

    There is a story that Richard Ritter and Bruce Barlow used to charge good money for a workshop where the students set up their cameras, composed, dry fired, and took down their cameras, fifty times. Good practice, but I don't want to have to pay for the privilege.

    John
     
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  26. MattKrull

    MattKrull Subscriber

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    I'm on week 13 of a "one roll of film per week for 52 weeks" project. So far I'm keeping up on my shooting but falling behind on my processing (I have 5 weeks worth of unprocessed film in my fridge).