When I first picked up a camera, I was only familiar with the concept of one image at the time. This was until I came across the Magnum website and works of Henri Cartier- Bresson and many others. What stood out to me was more their approach to photography along with their distinct way of telly stories but these things don’t come to you over night.
A couple years ago, I became frustrated and I wanted to create something more tangible than just the daily images. That’s how I came across the concept of photography series. This journey set me on a different path to becoming a photographer. Putting together not only taught me a lot more than I expected.
Series are about telling a story so wanting to start a series is already the big hurdle. The next question that is raised is how to get started. My answer to this question is simply by not over-thinking. Get a pen a paper a start writing and make a list.
The list should include what you are passionate about, a few topics followed by restrictions and constraints. Constraints and restrictions allows you to focus only on the process of story telling. I’ve seen series completed simply by using a 50mm or even if you are use to colour images why not try a series in only in black and white? Not only this will get you out of your comfort but it will force you to discover a whole new side to your process.
The other thing is to start by writing a statement/ description of the series. I personally find this the hardest thing to do so I start with bullet points highlighting my thoughts, what I have in mind and especially what I’m feeling.
Last but most important is to give yourself is a target and a deadline. Add the deadline to your phone and set a weekly reminder in your phone if you have to. The target should be the number if images This forces you to focus on the project and to more importantly finish it.
Starting a series, pushed into unchartered territories where it not just about finishing one image and to get to the next one. One thing most people don’t know was that I was completely unfamiliar with photoshop but wanting to create what I had in mind I had to learn in order to progress and now it is one of my favourite editing tools. You do not have to know all the ins and out of a series in order to get started. The most important thing is to get started.
Since my first series, starting series has been something that I’ve noticed slowly creeps up in my work. You will notice that some images comes in sets especially when it’s not intended. Doing a series has taught me patience and a lot of it. Instead of chasing after the next image, I am a lot more focused on the tasks.
My photo series has also taught me a lot of discipline and perseverance more specifically finishing something that I’ve started. They will be times when images that you’ve captured just don’t fit within the series as you might have thought. The hard decision will be whether it can make the cut. Do you start all over again and find something else or do it all over again?
This taught me about vulnerability and being a little more open and by tackling what we are facing on the daily basis is how we struggle with emotions and I’ve found this process has taught me be more receptive to what I’m feeling instead of burying down in work. Our experiences and emotions is what distinguishes us from each other. We all have a voice and a hell of a story to tell so why not channel through our work.
Although series are great, it will test you as a person and your passion for photography. We all claim to love photography but what sets you apart from me is what photography does for you. You will get frustrated, it can get hard especially when nobody understands your work but will it make you carry on or sell your camera. I’ve been disappointed many times even with my own work sometimes but what I feel when when i pick up my camera is unparalleled to anybodies opinion or comment. There’s nothing that will make me give it up.
Last thing to remember is that photography series are personal so only you as the photographer can set the tone for you and then let the viewers decide what it says to them.
On that note, I will leave you with the last series I worked on last. A two – series called Variations. The second part here is called Intricacies.