Too many directions?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by eddie, Nov 2, 2012.

  1. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,979
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2005
    Location:
    Northern Vir
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm wondering how others handle it when their work interest goes in multiple directions. I have so many different projects, sometimes I feel like I'm not giving each it's due.
    Right now I'm working on (or not working on):
    Hand painted nudes on hand coated paper.
    Combined/distressed negatives.
    Toned Holga/Diana stuff.
    Large hand-painted stuff (still getting the darkroom set up for 32x40 inch printing- I'm close to ready...)
    Large format portraits.
    Hand painted images from non-camera produced negatives.
    Bromoils.
    Old family photos, for my family.
    Probably a few more I've forgotten...

    What are your "rules" for handling this situation? How do you allot your time? How do you allot your finances?
    Thanks for your insights.
     
  2. Ian Leake

    Ian Leake Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,423
    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2005
    Location:
    Switzerland
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Pick the one theme that's most important to you and dump the rest for at least twelve months. Accept and celebrate the constraints that your chosen theme brings, and use your time to go as deep into it as you can.
     
  3. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,985
    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2002
    Location:
    Wine country, N. Cal.
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    "Don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy."
     
  4. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

    Messages:
    2,229
    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Location:
    Portland OR
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    It is a very real problem that I also have dealt with for many years. I tried and tried unsuccessfully to pare it down to a smaller focus. My directions go in multiple formats and multiple concepts and are seemingly unrelated. Any concentrated time on one project leaves the other projects gathering dust and making no progress.

    I came to a few personal realizations over time. Number one is that it is just the way I work. If I change it I cause myself a lot of frustration. My way of working tends to be..... get inspiration on one project and make some new work until the inspiration goes flat and I find myself having inspiration in another project. I have realized that is the sound of my own wheels and just accept it.

    The other realization I have had is that it is not so important to complete a long term project in order to exhibit the work. You can look at your directions and projects as life long, and when you exhibit, you exhibit a bit of everything or anything you want and don't worry about it all being the same.

    Another realization that I had and is obvious is that there is indeed a real common thread running through all your work, it is you. Eventually or ultimately your style or vision or sensibility will start to become clear in all your work.

    Personally I am a bit envious of people with less directions and are able to focus on a single way of working without getting bored. I think the single focus and repeated imagery gives them a stronger sense of identity and is less confusing to people who like their work. It is what it is though and you have to do what you do and if you work in multiple directions then exhibit multiple directions together. IMO
    Dennis
     
  5. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

    Messages:
    6,657
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I use Ian's method... but never forget the future projects and continualy work them (sometimes just mentally planning) at a very low level of effort.
     
  6. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

    Messages:
    5,301
    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2006
    Location:
    Humboldt Co.
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Picking time-consuming processes seems to help eliminate the opportunity to diverge...
     
  7. ntenny

    ntenny Member

    Messages:
    2,283
    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2008
    Location:
    San Diego, C
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    "Way too many directions at once" just seems to be the way my brain works, so like Dennis above I've kind of learned to live with it. Some projects languish for a long time or don't pan out at all, but as far as I can tell nothing bad happens as a result---if someday I want to go back to Pintoid cameras and monobath development for a while, well, they're there to go back to, and if not, so what?

    Obviously that's the perspective of someone for whom photography is strictly a hobby, though. I don't think that mode of operation would be too compatible with an actual artistic career.

    -NT
     
  8. batwister

    batwister Member

    Messages:
    919
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2010
    Location:
    Midlands, UK
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I look at a wide variety of photographers, historical and modern and find my biggest problem in this regard is switching from 'classical' mode to concept based stuff. I'm coming to the realisation that sticking to projects that subjectively interest or move me the most keeps me focused for longer and the work tends to find its own level - rather than getting caught up in conflicting aesthetic oriented projects, that change and shift as frequently as my moods.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 2, 2012
  9. gandolfi

    gandolfi Member

    Messages:
    1,804
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2005
    Location:
    Denmark
    Shooter:
    Large Format Pan
    Sounds like me..;-)

    No problem as I see it - you can combine them if you wish:
    Make the image with Diana/Holga - distress the negative - make the negative into a bromoil Or a handcoloured image - nude of course..

    Enjoy your choises: Just think how limited you'd be in digital....

     
  10. winger

    winger Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,898
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Location:
    southwest PA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm in a similar position. What I've been doing is to do what makes sense for the time I have available at that time. Sometimes I'm in the mood for one project and not others and sometimes I only have time to do one thing. So I go with it. I also realized that's how I worked when I was at the lab, too. Everything got done when it was needed there, so I just figure things will eventually get done with the myriad of ideas I've had with photography, too. I've also discovered that I have more ideas when I have less time.
     
  11. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,979
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2005
    Location:
    Northern Vir
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Thanks for the responses. I'm glad to see I'm not alone... :smile:
    Between the time I first posted, and later in the day, I came to the conclusion that it may be better to have too many ideas than not enough (or none at all). And, to produce the best work I can, I'll go with whichever project excites me the most at that particular time. So, it's more hand coated emulsions/hand colored nudes (for now anyway...). Tomorrow it may all change...
     
  12. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

    Messages:
    1,607
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2005
    Location:
    Iowa
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'm torn in two directions. I took up knitting after I gave up darkroom just so that I had something I was doing with my hands. I love it and don't plan to give it up now that I'm going back, so I have my knitting-related projects (patterns, yarn dyeing, and knitting) and the photography-related projects (portraits, Trees in the Middle of Nowhere series). Should be fun.

    And before anyone asks, the "Middle of Nowhere" series is a half-serious, half-joke project my husband and I came up with while driving to one town or another one day. We realized that there's an awful lot of ______ in the middle of nowhere in Iowa. Trees, sheds, old farm equipment even. And thus is the birth of a photography project. I'll be working on it next year, probably.
     
  13. eddie

    eddie Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,979
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2005
    Location:
    Northern Vir
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Stephanie- Way back when I was in college, there was a girl who combined her knitting with her photographs. She made her own yarn (IIRC) and perforated her images so she could "knit" her photos. It was interesting work.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

    Messages:
    1,607
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2005
    Location:
    Iowa
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Someone on the forum I go to uses knit pieces as canvases for her paintings. It's interesting work, too.

    I use them for sweaters. It's cold in Iowa. :D

    I've thought about doing some sculpture work with yarn and glue to use in still life photos, but that's yet *another* project. :D
     
  16. winger

    winger Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,898
    Joined:
    Jan 13, 2005
    Location:
    southwest PA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It seems that APUG sees a large number of threads asking how to break out of the photography equivalent of writer's block (and I'm pretty sure I started one myself at one point). Having too many ideas is a better place to be imo. Even if not all the projects get done, how you think of something in one may lead to something more in another. And if you're not doing them with deadlines for someone paying you, then how long you take isn't a big issue.
     
  17. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,200
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Location:
    Connecticut,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Ahhh!! I love Iowa for that!! Plus the sunsets!!! Oh the Iowa sunsets!! :smile:


    ~Stone

    The Noteworthy Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  18. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,200
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Location:
    Connecticut,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    This isn't uncommon, I think it comes from the fact that one, our projects take so long in the mean time we have other ideas. Also if we do things one at a time, the results of a finished product are so far apart it's hard to keep current from a sales perspective.

    I have 6 photography book projects, 3 camera mod projects, 8 different photo feeds I have to keep current, a website rebuild from scratch, and lots of digital photoshop learning stuff (which I haven't even installed yet). 5 film emulsion development experiments, etc etc.

    It's endless and overwhelming, just pick something to do each day and do that thing that day and you'll feel accomplished at the end of the day. When you get close to done, then put all the energy into finishing it, then go back to your daily "pick a task".

    That's how I handle it.

    Hope that helps in some way.


    ~Stone

    The Noteworthy Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  19. Stephanie Brim

    Stephanie Brim Member

    Messages:
    1,607
    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2005
    Location:
    Iowa
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    We have just enough flat land and just enough hilly land that there are a lot of photographic opportunities that most just don't see. You don't really think of Iowa as an awesome place to photograph, and neither did I, but then I opened my mind and realized that there's a LOT of stuff right here to work with.

    Models, though, are somewhat harder to find than in NYC. :tongue:
     
  20. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,200
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Location:
    Connecticut,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    I found this one when I visited for a wedding :wink:

    [​IMG]

    I love random nude shoots haha


    ~Stone

    The Noteworthy Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  21. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

    Messages:
    6,657
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I must have been going to the wrong weddings! :kissing:
     
  22. tim k

    tim k Member

    Messages:
    237
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    Location:
    Tucson
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Damn, you guys should feel blessed. Nothing interesting around here.
     
  23. BrianShaw

    BrianShaw Member

    Messages:
    6,657
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2005
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    ... around Tucson???? I did some of my best work, or at least some of my favorite work, around Tucson. Give or take 150 miles.
     
  24. StoneNYC

    StoneNYC Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,200
    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2012
    Location:
    Connecticut,
    Shooter:
    8x10 Format
    Haha this was after the wedding, I posted a notice saying I was a traveling NY photographer and got hired by her on the day I was heading back so it worked out perfectly.


    ~Stone

    The Noteworthy Ones - Mamiya: 7 II, RZ67 Pro II / Canon: 1V, AE-1 / Kodak: No 1 Pocket Autographic, No 1A Pocket Autographic

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  25. tim k

    tim k Member

    Messages:
    237
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2008
    Location:
    Tucson
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well, give me 200 miles, and I get interested. Seems for me looking at something every day, kills my creative juices.
     
  26. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

    Messages:
    7,509
    Joined:
    May 18, 2008
    Location:
    Beaverton, OR
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    You are kidding right?