Too many directions?
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.
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.
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.
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.
Originally Posted by eddie
"Don't let the sound of your own wheels drive you crazy."
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
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.
Picking time-consuming processes seems to help eliminate the opportunity to diverge...
"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.
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.
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....
Originally Posted by eddie
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.