“The Process of a Project” Lecture at SPENW

On Saturday, November 6, at 1:40 pm, I will be giving a lecture at the Society for Photographic Education’s NW Conference, held at Newspace Center for Photography.  (View the full conference schedule here.)

Bringing one’s artistic vision to life can be a daunting task. Many photographers have ideas for a thematic series they would like to begin (or complete), but lack the knowledge of how to approach a large project, especially one involving a sensitive subject. This presentation will cover the various steps one can take to begin, persevere in, and complete a project, and share it with the world.

Discussions of photographic technique are generally limited to technical matters: equipment selection, exposure and development, darkroom and PhotoShop tricks, and output solutions. Rarely does the discussion broaden to include the challenges faced in producing a conceptual body of work from start to finish.

Using the example of my Skeleton in the Closet series, this presentation will address the various stages of a photographic project, based upon my experience in creating larger-scale, multi-year, thematic series of photographs of delicate subjects.

I will begin by discussing the importance of a proposal, written by the artist to clarify for himself (and others) the focus of the project. Using stories from my own experience, I will then share secrets for finding subjects and locations, building trust with people, the importance of using releases, applying for grants and funding, dealing with setbacks and discouragement, networking, staying focused and organized, creating a ‘look’ that fits the subject, keeping the work consistent, and writing about the work. I will also discuss how to share the work once it has been completed. discussing marketing and publicity, websites, agents, shows, portfolio reviews, magazines and books.

The presentation will be accompanied by projected images from the series, as well as images related to the process. It can be adjusted to fit a particular time limit, and if time allows, I would welcome a question and answer session.

While approaching a large, thematic series may daunting, it is not impossible. Through the sharing of my experience and knowledge, this presentation will aid and encourage others in their pursuit of bringing their own projects to life.

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