The Dreaded Project: Follow Up

Odaiba, 2008 © Emily Shur

First of all, I want to thank everyone who commented on the previous Dreaded Project post, as well as the people who emailed me.  I think that some readers might have interpreted that post as “Why can’t I seem to start, finish, or get into a project?”  When actually, the post was more me voicing my frustration about a game that I personally do not want to play with my photography, nor do I think other photographers should feel forced to fit their work into a uncomfortable mold.  This is not to say that at some point I wouldn’t want to push myself to try and get on the project train, or that I haven’t tried to in the past.  This is also not to say that I have no interest in thinking about my photography in more intellectual terms than “Me want to take picture.”  Feel free to insert a grunt before that quote.

I don’t want to get bogged down by semantics.  The word project can mean many things, and I don’t want to hate on it too much.  You can attach that word to any body of work you choose…whether you shot it with a project in mind, or you found a project in the work after it was made.  Or you could make up a word.  The word is not the issue…it’s the mindset.  For me, it’s sort of akin to the gay marriage debacle, in the sense that there are some morons that claim they are all for equal rights, but just can’t find it within themselves to get behind the word “marriage” when used to describe a legal union of two people of the same sex.  

Do I discriminate against the word project?  Am I a project-phobe?  Possibly.  I think about all of these things while I attempt to edit one hundred and something work prints down to twenty to apply to Review Santa Fe.  I applied last year and did not get in.  Maybe better luck this year.  Then again, maybe not.  In any case, this is opening my mind.  So, I got that going for me…which is nice.

2 comments to The Dreaded Project: Follow Up

  • Dave

    Enjoy reading your blog entries. Don’t know how I stumbled onto it but am glad I did. That said, the project thing looms large…granted, I’m cynical(sp?) but it seems that there are no unturned stones in our culture, that almost everything you can think of has become a project for a photo essay at one time or another. Kind of like when someone gets into multilevel marketing and their friends become sales targets. The reason that I take pictures is kind of undefined: I see/think of something, it appeals at whatever level, and presto! I take the pic. And then move on to the next, and the next. I’m in a big-ass slump now, and part of it may be over-thinking all of this.
    And yes, I’m working on a project, or at least, starting one…

  • Gordon

    I read a book recently that laid out the ideas of Zoe & Bios which seem to capture what you are struggling with here