SoFoBoMo – and then what?

by julie posted March 15, 2008

I think it’s easy to forget in the build up to this that it was generally intended as something of an exercise – the fact that you”’re shooting all the images within the space of a single month (or less, depending on how long you need for processing and editing) has a good chance of limiting the quality of photography in it. Or, to avoid the suggestion that 35 great images can’t possibly be taken in a single month which is probably untrue, the focus of the project wasn’t necessarily going to be about the quality of the images themselves. If that were the case, we’d be more likely to be doing SoFoBoYe instead.

Of course everyone has their own motivations and a lot of people are choosing projects that are incredibly well suited to being shot in their entirety within the timeframe of a month. I’m looking at it with my own situation in mind though, where if I was to create a book that I’d want to produce and possibly market in some way, I’d be more concerned with what’s in it and probably want to choose from my archives. But that’s where the beauty of this thing, as an exercise, comes in – because you”’re forced to take a whole new set of images for it, there’s none of that baggage connected to the shots you’ve taken in the past and have a ‘relationship’ with. In some ways, it makes the thing harder, but in others it also gives you a kind of freedom you don’t have when the stakes are higher, and a chance to iron out the technical quirks in a less pressured environment.

So, say the month is over, I’ve shot, edited, processed, page-layouted (?!) and produced a pdf. I’ve learned about the mechanics of putting a book together, basically. The real challenge is to put that experience to good use and produce something that I’ll want to keep, or market, or share. Something that I do think represents me as a photographer, either as a larger portfolio, ‘best of’ type thing, or another project. Now that’s a scary project! Hopefully the SoFoBoMo will take some of the fear out of it though, and I think that’s what it’s for…

6 Responses to SoFoBoMo – and then what?

  1. Julie, I think that SoFoBoMo, at least for me, is a conduit to other things, like you state. Also, it’s an important challenge to allow us to try something with a finite time table. I know that I can procrastinate with the best of them as well as starting something, then stopping, especially if it has no deadline.

    The deadline is mercifully short enough to make it so that most anyone participate and work it around their schedules, if they want to. Also, having a ‘soft’ month makes it even easier. You can pick your own window.

    As for what comes next, I don’t know. My mind is thinking about a book, running in tandem with this one, about the life of a competitive basketball player’s parents. I’ll be taking pictures during the upcoming season, so why not capture important moments, make a book, and … who knows. Food for thought.

  2. So, would it have occurred to you to do that book before the SoFoBoMo thing? If not, there is a benefit you’ve received without even having started ;)

  3. constraints produce creativity because they force you to reach inside yourself.

    my pithy contribution for the month ; )

  4. I have thought about doing a book before, but that’s all it ever amounted to, a thought. Here, with SoFoBoMo, I actually started reading about how to design a book, fonts, layouts, etc. Now, I know, theoretically, how to start laying out a book. Also, it caused me to pick a theme and a piece of software to do the design. So, I have learned something already. If I complete it, and I’m confident that I will, I will earn yet another benefit, the benefit of completion, regardless of the perceived value of the end product.

  5. I’d started a book just before the SoFoBoMo thing got kicked around, so in effect it has put that other book on hold. I may be the first person using SoFoBoMo as a reason for procrastinating – you know, just to see what I learn, before doing the ‘real’ book.

    Always plenty of reasons to procrastinate :)

    PS thanks for the link on I wondered for a few minutes where all the new people had come from!

  6. I am now working on my ‘first’ book with Blurb as a trial run (over 20% completed) to work out the bugs for my second Blurb SoFoBoMo book. Perhaps it took the SoFoBoMo to kick my butt into gear to actually make up my mind and do something, as I was aimlessly wondering along that ‘how do a I make a book submission to a publisher’ path. And now I am thinking that every project/series I do will also be out in a book, Blurb as a minimum;- )

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