the post-mortem

by julie posted May 16, 2008

You can find the result of my SoFoBoMo 2008 here.

What I expected:

More of my usual stuff (botanic gardens, macros) with a bit of a theme behind it, brought together in a collection. I thought I’d have a few of my usual type wanderings around the bots, then spend most of my real effort in putting the book together – layout, text, etc. and come out with something quite visual, and well polished.

What I ended up with:

A collection of images taken with the Holga lens of the city (Dublin) shot during lunchtimes and just after work, with just a single page of introductory text, and arranged fairly simply on a letterbox format page.

What I learned:

When I try to put constraints on my ‘muse’, it behaves like a stubborn mule and refuses to go anywhere at all. I have to loosen the reins and let it go where it wants.* This is where the fuzzy month came in handy for me because I had been rearing to go but ended up dithering about for a week, after a bit of a false start. And life intercepted halfway through, so I needed to make use of that extra week at the end. I also went to a few parks and gardens intending to use that stuff as well, but it became clear during the editing phase that the project was really about the city streets rather than those areas, and that cut my pool of potential images to less than half. I struggled to meet the 35 image limit.

I think my original project idea – about the life in the botanic gardens, is suited to a longer term project. I think that idea requires more consideration and careful editing to become more than a collection of pretty flower pictures, which it would probably become, if used as a subject for SoFoBoMo.

I also learned from this specific project that starting with a fairly new subject/area, I could barely scratch the surface and begin to understand what it was about in that one month period. At the same time, it’s a good thing to do with a new idea because it gives you a bit of drive to start getting into it as much as possible, and is fairly intensive and focused. I think it provided me with a bit of a foundation, in a useful format, that I can come back to as a reference guide and build on in the future.

*Interesting/scarily close correlation between this and the ‘Elephant/rider’ analogy used in The Hypothesis of Happiness by Jonathan Haidt

I was rewarded with:

A new approach to photography. The requirement for a large pool of images to draw from made me shoot nearly every day, and not using my macro lens (which is slightly bulky) made my camera much more discreet and portable. It meant that I was doing photography without having set out to do it. I hope there’s something that came through from that, into the images, and also had a longer term effect on my shooting habits.

General thoughts:

I did like the fact that I didn‚Äôt see anyone else‚Äôs finished project, until I was actually done already. I *will* be doing it again, when I can anticipate a quiet month, and an inkling of a new project idea – regardless of any official, organised group efforts – I would just pick a month to suit myself and work away on it quietly. I also think that if you were to do it a few times, with a pdf as the final result rather than going all the way to P.O.D., it would provide a) good inspiration to work on a small project in a fairly intensive way, or make a start on a bigger project with a bit of a bang and b) make the process of producing something ready for print a familiar one, so you‚Äôd be more inclined to do it for a bigger, longer term project ‚Äì and also to be more confident about the minutiae of carrying out such a task. I do see a best of, portfolio type book in my future, and that’s in the back of my mind all the time I’m talking about SoFoBoMo in general.

I hope this rambling maybe helps out someone who might be thinking about doing it next time around, or even that someone who has done it this time might pick up on something I said and think ‘hang on, that applies to me too and I hadn’t noticed before’.

muses, eh, I mean... mules

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