About a week or 2 ago, I released my first zine, titled Four Years of Singapore. It's my tribute to Singapore before I head back home, Philippines. I never planned on doing it as a project. In fact, it was mostly a spur of the moment thing. I wanted a memorabilia for myself before my wife and I fly back. This project got me thinking, for the past four years of me doing street photography and photography in general, I've only done a couple of projects and was never truly focused on doing more.
One of the first projects I ever did was the Sulfur Miners of Indonesia which was not really planned at all and more of a spontaneous moment that I just took advantage of. It's a potential documentation of what's happening there and I just had to document it.
Another project that I'm doing for the long run was the Stalker Series which wasn't planned as well but rather a concept has only given birth after the photos have already been taken. I realized that I've been taking quite a number of photographs of strangers and consciously including myself either my reflection or my shadow in the frame. That made me work on the project. Unfortunately, it's taking a while to really build up the number of good images. There are a lot of factors needs to be present for me to get the shot I like. Time of the day for one. It has to be when the sun has just risen or at dawn where the shadows are long. I realized this is going the be a long-term project and just let it build up as I go along with my photographic journey.
Taking it Serious
After all these projects I've shown you, nothing else comes next after that. I'm back to shooting the street without any theme in mind, except the Stalker series. And after the zine was released and seeing my work arranged and edited to fit my theme made me realize how important working on a project is. It makes your craft even more valuable and meaning full. When I placed images side by side and make a series or a story around it, it makes a wonderful experience.
1. Develop your Style
There are many ways to develop your style, and one of the ways I've learned is doing projects. When you're focused on a theme or a certain subject, it becomes your signature. It becomes personal.
2. Clearer Direction
I mostly shoot without a theme and just go out there taking photographs of whatever I find interesting. While that's fine and all, I learned that with a project, you create a goal. A direction to take. Starting a project does not only mean as simple as doing the project itself, it means you are growing as a photographer too. Like a new stage in your photographic career or journey. With a direction, it means you have a vision towards how you want yourself to be as a photographer.
I was fine taking photographs and not doing projects at all but as soon as I released my zine, I felt a different kind of fulfillment. It's definitely the same feeling of accomplishing a task and it's definitely rewarding when you see a concept turns into an actual body of work.
Projects isn't really a required thing to do. Not everyone does projects and are doing just fine, but personally, I felt that doing projects felt like I'm maturing as a photographer. Maybe to put it in simpler term, I am maturing in the sense of pushing myself in what I can do more and what I can do outside the box.
In a few weeks, my wife and I will be flying back home to the Philippines and I've already had a few projects to start in mind. I'm definitely excited to see how it will turn out! See you on the streets and hope to hear about your projects soon!
If you wish to purchase my zine, you can click the link below! Thanks for the support!