I’m breaking the rules. You know the ones that say you’re not supposed to share a project or an idea until you’ve got it refined and revised and perfect? That say you should only show your best work? That tell you to keep your process hidden so no one can mimic your artistry? Yeah, those. I’m smack dab in the midst of pouring my thoughts out on my creative progress one day at a time. For my Jar of Inspiration topic this month, I’m publicly developing a concept that I’m lovingly naming, “Screwed.”
I have this amazing super power, you see. I find nails and screws in the street every time I go for a walk. The reason I call it my super power is because I like to think that by noticing and picking up these offenders, I have (in my own small way) helped to save the world, one flat tire at a time. I can’t take credit for thinking up the project idea. I found a screw while I was walking with a friend one day and she was the one to pop it into my brain. It took a year or so of pondering before my brain finally succumbed to the project and then, it was only after a giant shove from the universe that I actually decided to give it a go.
Back in February I was at a workshop taught by the talented and knowledgeable photographer, John Keatley. It was in Austin, TX about 3 hours drive from home. I was there with a handful of wildly talented photographers I’d never met and John was telling us about the importance of creating things for ourselves, not for others, and encouraging us to develop our individual styles based our own unique vision. Midway through the workshop, it was discovered that my front left tire had a giant screw lodged into it. Cue, the shove… Luckily, there was a tire shop down the street that was open on a Sunday and I was able to get the tire patched and return to the workshop without missing anything besides lunch.
When I got back, John had us divide into groups and spend some time individually thinking of a personal project we’d like to do and then present it to the others. I had the “Screwed” project already in my mind, and I decided to run with it. This was the perfect opportunity to develop the idea while it was still fresh in my head. I made some rough notes about the logistics of creating the project, I brainstormed various ways of taking the photos and I even managed to put together a rough marketing plan if the project ever gained some traction. The whole thing is a little bit ridiculous, but luckily, I’m just doing it for myself to see what will happen. I’m not doing it because it’s something I think a client will want, or because I think it will generate more traffic to my website or Instagram account. It’s just for me to learn and play. The brainstorming was a great way to start, but I needed to start making the pictures to really know where I wanted this project to go. I decided to make my process of developing a concept the topic of my monthly exploration. I thought it would be good for me to document the thoughts going through my head as my approach changed or I had new ideas so I could refer back to them later when I was stuck on something else. I wanted to create an account of my methods and gather all my images into one place so I can compare and contrast as I go and what was works and what needs to be discarded.
It’s been very liberating, this breaking of the rules. It feels good to get a little of the “behind the scenes” out there to let others know that this stuff doesn’t just happen magically. There’s trial and error and an element of playfulness surrounding my project. And maybe another photographer out there will get some insight from seeing my progress. Maybe it will spark something that will help them further their own personal project. But if not, that’s ok too. Sometimes just getting my thoughts out of my own head helps clear space for the next brainstorm to come along. One thing always leads to another, I’ve found. Always Developing – Angie