photo of the day – caged
This one is for my friend Julie Yan, Magnum cohort and partner-in-crime–a nod to our projects from the workshop last May. In my last post I referred to the image I shared as a sketch and Deborah Howard asked me to expand on the concept of making sketches for a series.
Last year I attended The Passionate Photographer workshop with Steve Simon. Prior to this workshop I had never heard a detailed first-hand account of how a photographer goes about creating work for a long-term project. I found it revealing and there were a couple of key points that stuck with me, one of which is the idea of sketches. I don’t believe Steve Simon used that term but I’ve hi-jacked it from somewhere to label images that won’t make it into the final cut of my dog project. (I think David duChemin uses the same word but to describe a different concept). Steve’s point was that as we photograph for long-term projects, average images are replaced by better ones and by the end of the project you should have strong images to showcase. By strong, I mean not only compositional but also images that match your intent for the project.
Photographing dogs for a project is a cliché and the standard set by photographers like Elliott Erwitt and Tim Flach is something to which I can only hope to aspire. What I can do is try to find my own vision and use my own voice to create images for this project. That’s why sketching is important for me. I’ll make images that I won’t even share here but once in a while I will post something that isn’t strong enough but contains an idea of my intent. The images so far are coalescing around the idea of what it’s like to be a dog living in the city but from the dog’s point of view. The Urban Dog.
Keeping in mind images that are included now can be replaced by stronger images that emerge, do you think today’s image is a sketch?