Personal Projects are learning tools, vital elements in the life of a photographer. Free from any restraints, they allow for the unhindered pursuit of photography as a creative storytelling device. They foster creativity, enthusiasm, and life-long learning. All of which are important steps on the journey of becoming the best photographer and human being one can be.
We all must undertake this journey, even though we'll never quite make it to its final destination. There always will be something to improve. But the journey and continued learning are what matters. The curiosity and will to learn.
Family Journeys is a personal project I've started with the gracious support of my parents. Photography, in one way or another, has always been a part of our family vacations when I was a kid. The thousands of more or less unsorted prints and negatives that await ordering and digitization in my parents' basement (one of the steps of this project) are a testament to this. Someway along the way of my siblings and me growing up and photography moving from film to digital, the stream of pictures began to ebb. Besides ordering the pictures from my family's past, I've begun documenting its present with this project.
At its core Family Journeys is the story of a couple's vacation, their love, and their appreciation for one another. As a personal project from the perspective of a photographer and writer, it's much more. An experiment in storytelling. Gained experience. New discoveries about oneself, family, life.
Being separated from my family, in space and sometimes even in time, is an ambivalent experience. I've become accustomed to it, find it freeing at times. But it's also testing, it removes me from the lives of those closest to me. Turning the lens on my own family is a conduit to gaining some of those lost freedoms back.
Running the World is the working title of a new personal project that I stumbled into on my journey to make running a part of my life again. I tried the sport years ago in college, enjoyed it terribly, but eventually stopped because of knee pain. Always afraid to tempt fate, I've never dared to try again until the spring of 2019.
Since then, I've come to enjoy the pleasures of running once again, discovered how to do it without getting injured all the time (took me a good two months to get there). While time-consuming, running is my happy place, so to speak, where I'm all alone with my thoughts, the one or so hour where I can clear my head. I don't want to miss it. It's what helps me stay focused throughout the day and be ready for whatever comes my way.
Photographing my surroundings from a runner's perspective started as a means to compensate for the reduced time for personal photography walks. While extremely limited photographically, the practice sharpens my observation skills, my photographic eye. The results show the world from an interesting perspective that, from time to time, reveals little details that would remain hidden with a more active photographic process.
Photographing while running is very instinctual and freeing. Phones, while offering brilliant picture quality under good conditions, are limiting one's control. The constant movement is limiting as well.