A few weeks ago I wrote that projects bring structure to my photography. It is impossible for me to consistently produce work without a project. I have to organize myself to get good results. Apparently some people have an intuitive sense of what to shoot but I need more control.
Typically I shoot and post images online after each outing. That leaves me with a few published images and lots of unpublished stuff. Most of my work remains unseen. Assuming I make a reasonable effort to self-edit, many decent shots never see the light of day. That is where the idea of a body of work comes in.
A body of work is often defined as the total output of an artist or artisan over time. That could be a lifetime or a project. It may seem strange for a non-professional to consider a collection of photographs as a body of work. I do see my images in that way.
One hot concept these days is to ‘curate’ your social or public presence. That could mean anything from creating lists of things for others to follow to just about anything that carries a personal stamp of approval. Assembling images into a body of work is considered by some to be self-curation. That seems a little pretentious to me so I just pick and sequence images until I’m satisfied with the results. It amounts to the same thing.
Once the images are selected and sequenced it is a matter of processing the lot for output. Here too decisions must be made which will probably eliminate some photos. Not every image will work for every output medium. If all goes well the end result is a coherent body of work. I can’t think of a more satisfying way to conclude any project.
We start out running to explore our world, chafing against any hint of restraint. We learn, grow, have productive lives and raise children who then run further on in front of us. We begin to pace ourselves, conserving as best we can for the future.
Regardless of how deep the shadows become we strive to push ahead. Some see wisdom in our determination to continue forward. Maybe we are just too stubborn to quit.
Something you often hear is that photographers are voyeurs peeping into places where they don’t belong. That perception is not entirely untrue. We do look into places that other people avoid. Photographers are curious to see and capture what is around them. That is part and parcel to being a photographer.
I am always curious to discover unique scenes. My finished photographs are interpretations that generally differ from the raw source images. It is highly likely that someone will view any photograph I make as a misrepresentation of reality. That is a consequence of the common belief that photographs capture truth rather than light and shadow. Capturing a fraction of a second in time will always be out of step with the human eye in some way.
The images of the musician and ranch house share a common frame of reference. They were both captured from outside a building looking into interior space. Both are biased by my detached point of view and approach to the subject. I have no idea what the musician was playing because I could not hear the music. I also have no knowledge of the lives lived within the abandoned farm house. They are literally moments in time that strike a visual and emotional chord for me. They are interpretations of the subjects that were in front of my camera. Another photographer will interpret these scenes differently.