• josutherstphotography

Sustainable Prospects – Personal Projects

As I develop as a professional photographer, pursuing personal projects will be just as important to my growth as they are now.

My projects so far have helped me to learn techniques, experiment, and grow as a visual artist. They have provided me with challenge and stimulation that would be lacking in some commercial work. The work that I produce for my personal projects will be an important legacy that I will leave this earth with. The work shows who I am and what my vision of the world is.

To be honest, nobody probably really cares about my photography.  Except me of course. I care about it.  I love it in fact. My photography keeps me enthusiastic and gives me a zest for life. I don’t know how long I have here, so intend to make the most of it whilst I can. Having a life-threatening condition can do that to a person. I have a choice every day. I could curl up in a ball and feel sorry for myself, or I could grab every opportunity and idea and run with it.  I obviously choose the second one every day, even when my body doesn’t want to.

Every day I photograph. I feel energised, stimulated and inspired. I take photographs for me, not really caring what the outside world thinks of them. I trust my gut and my heart on this. My only measure of success is how I feel about the work once it is finished. If other people like it, then it is a bonus.

In planning out my work, I have created a couple of mindmaps (below) that indicate the areas that I consider for each project.

Personal work helps me to see where my limitations might lie.  They have also provided me with a means to produce work that has a deep-seated emotional connection and that packs a punch in terms of the impact and visual message of the images. This aspect is becoming more important to me as I progress through the MA.

I don’t have issues in coming with up with ideas for personal projects.  I am naturally inquisitive and my mind rushes with ideas and inspirations.   Personal projects help me though. They slow me down and allow me to follow the ideas through. I am motivated by them. The projects give me a focus and a direction of travel. I have an aim and by experimenting as I work through a project, I discover new possibilities and opportunities, which I seize with both hands.

Each project needs to be interesting and fun.  I structure my work so that I am not just wandering aimlessly taking photographs without purpose. I do this for everything I do, it is part of who I am. I fully commit to the work. I define my own rules. I produce what I want and need to produce.

My intention is to always be working on personal projects as my career develops. I need to keep channeling my personal creativity into developing and creating.  They will always be an essential part of my practice and after all, the personal projects have always been my motivation for picking up the camera and shoot.


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