ideas: photography project technique

The evolution of photo project ideas

Young Sivapithecus, "Bob" to his friends, hasn't a clue. Past work can't be used on any course, and besides, how is he going to learn if he doesn't try something new, or talk to his tutor?

Siyapithecus: I know, I've got lots of pictures of trees I've taken in the past. If I put them all together I'm sure i can make a project from that.

The "snap it and see" cherry-picking attitude of Australopithecus can sometimes bear fruit, but he is missing the benefits of having a theme and working to a plan. He can easily be distracted, and his project will end up looking too diverse. Also, anything he takes will be difficult to repeat or improve upon. He will learn in hindsight, but he should talk to his tutor.

Australopithecus: I want to take pictures of trees. I'll go out an take pictures of trees. Then I'll see what I've got. (Trees)

Homo erectus here has a strong idea of what he wants to photograph but perhaps not how he wants his pictures to look. His research will be ok. But it will not link to his own work very well - he is putting the cart before the horse.

Homo Erectus:  want to take pictures of trees. I'm going to take pictures of trees. Now then, what other photographers took pictures of trees?

Homo sapiens is thinking clearly, making sure of his inspiration and how he wants to work before he settles on his subject matter. His work will be in context and also show a personal response to a theme that he has chosen carefully in consultation with his tutor!

Homo Sapiens: I really like the work of Edward Weston - the tones, the texture, the detail - the essential objectivity of it, yet with the touch of the artist still evident. Yes, that's the way I want to work, but I need to narrow it down. What subject should I choose... the ancient and organic feel? I know, I'll do trees.  No, that's naff...