As with kissing at midnight, eating sauerkraut, pork and black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day, the photo resolution post has been a tradition over the past two years for me. It allows me to “verbalize” my goals for the coming year; provides me with a format to revisit my goals should I lose focus; serves as a template to review my year and allows me to progress as a photographer and as an artist. This annual post has been very instrumental in my development and I am glad I decided to do it two years ago. This year is no different. I feel as if I progressed the most as a photographer in 2012 and the only way to continue progressing is setting goals and working towards those goals. I’d like to think that 2013 will be a great year for me; however, I’ve literally gotten off on the wrong foot as I’m dealing with a foot injury that is hindering my mobility. Regardless, I’m going to set out to accomplish the following resolutions along with some non-photography related personal goals. So, without further ado, here are my 2013 Photo Resolutions:
(2) Rededicate myself to instant film-I fell in love with instant film in 2011 and last year I resolved to experiment more than I had before. Unfortunately, I felt I did not live up to that resolution. I began the year exclusively shooting Impossible Project PX600 Silver Shade UV+ Black Frame for a project. I pushed the SX-70 and the film to the limit for the project and I was very happy with the result; however, that was the end of my experimentation. I casually shot instant film throughout the year, trying out various Impossible Pioneer films while also snagging up old generation film and special editions. I didn’t experiment with emulsion lifts or transparency techniques or any other time tested Polaroid manipulations. That is going to change in 2013. I’m loaded with a fridge of Impossible Project PX70 PUSH! and PX600 Silver Shade UV+ Black Frame film and I’m currently working out ideas for a possible project. In addition to that, I resolve to try the new films immediately and learn their intricacies instead of purchasing them and letting them sit in my fridge until I go on a trip. Instant film is wonderful and I want to embrace it now more than ever.
(3) Continue forward progress with my major photo project, while also developing side projects along the way-I've been working on a major photo project for the past two years. The first year was what I call the conception phase. I went through source material, developed ideas, redeveloped those ideas and started to formulate a plan for creating the photographic images. Last year, I continued to research source material, further tweaked the original ideas and actually began shooting the project. To date, I have three completed images for the project. I haven’t finished the final prints for those images yet, but I do have working prints which have allowed me to assess if my vision was realized with each image. I can proudly say that I’m very happy with the direction the project is headed and I look to continue that progress in a major way in 2013. I’ve already begun preparations for the next image in the series (I’ll be shooting test rolls in the next week or so) and I hope to be creating final prints of some of the images by the end of the year. Besides this project, I need to continue to work on side projects that I’ve been working on for the past couple of years. I have a few that are in various stages of development and I have some ideas for other projects I would like to start. For me, it’s really a balancing act. I can’t become too focused on one project because it would prevent me from working on other things or missing photographic opportunities. As long as I stay focused on the long term goals but not lose sight of what’s in front of me, it should be a very fruitful year for my photographic projects.
(4) Bring at least one project to completion-Following up on the third resolution, I would like to complete one of the projects I have in development this year. Completion of a project for me is to produce finished, exhibition quality, darkroom prints; a book and/or a solo or joint show. Along with that, I would like to add the work to my websites and social media pages. I’ve had so much work in the development phase the past year that I haven’t even posted (what I consider to be) my best work for anyone to see. If I can at least get one project checked off my list for 2013, that would be a great accomplishment.
(5) Finally shoot something on Lomokino/Super 8-I've been dancing around this resolution for the past couple of years. It initially started with creating a stop motion video with my photographs and evolved into shooting Super 8. It’s now developed into the resolution that you see here. I’ve been flirting with video in a number of ways for the past couple of years. I’ve created, shot and edited a number of service line videos for work using a flip video camera; I shot a tutorial on the coffee pour over method for a school project; I produced a video review for the Diana F+ camera and I helped a friend of mine shoot a short film for his video production class. It’s time I stop talking about shooting something for myself and do it. This past Christmas I was given a Lomography Lomokino camera. For those of you that don’t know, a Lomokino is a video camera that takes 35 mm film. It divides each frame into four, providing you with 96-140 shots on one roll of film. Once developed and scanned, those exposures are combined into a video editing program to make a short film. It’s very lo-fi, but can produce excellent shorts. As I mentioned in resolution three, I’ve been working on a major project for the past couple of years. I’ve been batting around ideas of how to incorporate the Lomokino and/or Super 8 into that project. I feel like I’m very close and once I have the idea solidified, I’ll be entering into the world of moving pictures. It’s meant to compliment my work with still cameras, not replace it. 2013 is a great year to finally start and I believe there’s no better year to accomplish this resolution.
(6) Become better in the darkroom-After accomplishing my resolution of getting into the darkroom, I feel this is the perfect time to remind myself that the work has only just begun. Mastering a craft requires dedication and repetition and no where is that more true than in the darkroom. If I didn’t continue darkroom work throughout this year, I would be no better than I am now. There are so many variables, techniques and processes that I can learn to make my printing and developing better, it would be a crime to stop now. I want to build on what I’ve started and take my photography to new heights. The old adage “practice makes perfect” is true and I plan on exercising it in the darkroom this year.
(7) Learn to shoot large format- Shooting large format was a resolution that I set out to accomplish last year. Unfortunately, it was one that was lower on my priority list and I wasn’t able to accomplish it. I’m still very interested in learning to shoot large format and that’s why I’m putting it on my resolution list for the second year in a row. I’ve seen the detail in a 4x5 and 8x10 negative and it’s quite amazing. Large format would be just another way for me to bring my photography to another level.
(8) Learn at least one alternative process by the end of the year- Again, this was another resolution that was on the list last year that I didn’t get around to. However, because I just started work in the darkroom during the last quarter of 2012, I really wasn’t able to dive into the processes used by photographers from the pioneering days of this art form. So, with the basics under my belt and a whole year of darkroom work ahead of me, I plan on learning at least one alternative process by the end of 2013. I really like the look of these historic processes and I believe they could enhance a few projects that I’m currently working on. To be able to to still create art the way they did centuries before me is just an astounding and beautiful thing that I want to be a part of.
(9) More studio work- I’ve never been a big fan of studio work. Not that I didn’t like the look of the final image, but I’ve never really been drawn to the elaborate lighting set ups, backgrounds and posed shots. Maybe it’s because I have this idea of a “canned” senior picture portrait studio in my mind. I worked with still life a great deal in 2012 and I even purchased a small beginner’s table top lighting kit. I love natural light but I did enjoy using selective lighting in a number of my images from the past year. I would like to expand on this; possibly picking up some bigger lights and backgrounds and doing more conceptual still life and portrait work. I believe this could add another dimension to my photography and it’s definitely worth exploring.
(10) Better market myself as a photographer- Over the past four years I’ve grown as a photographer. I went from an eager beginner with a point and shoot digital camera to amateur with a DSLR to a conceptual film shooter that works in the darkroom. I have entered regional, national and international competitions and I’ve begun to gain recognition among my peers in the area. I’ve even sold a few prints. However, if I ever want my work to be known outside of this region, I need to better market myself as a photographer and artist. I’m a marketer during the day, so this should be no problem, right? Part of the process is putting myself out there, which is something I sometimes have trouble with. I need to start making better connections and networking with artists, galleries and arts councils. I need to be visible outside of just photo competitions. I need to have a better web presence and I need to start sharing more of my work. By doing these things, my hope is that the images I create will reach a greater audience. I have a few things planned for 2013 that will hopefully help accomplish this. Regardless, I’m looking forward and upward and that’s the only way that I’ll achieve more than what I have to this point.
I can’t think of a better way to end this post than by looking forward. I’m grateful for finding photography and finding an outlet for this creativity and vision I have inside me. I want to continue to improve and pay homage to a craft that has been wonderful to me these past four years. I also want to say thank you to the readers and followers of this blog and my work. I appreciate you and I hope you enjoy this journey as much as I do. Here’s to another wonderful year in photography. Cheers and keep shooting!