Personal projects are always an exciting part of my creative process in my work- which I try to delve into when I can- as I find them the most rewarding- no matter the scale of them.
This New York Project came about by partly by accident and partly by following what i found interesting and full of total intrigue. New York is an amazing city, but when i first went, it was in 2010 but it wasn’t until February of this year, 2013 that i started my New York Project.
When you are in New York, you can be somewhat diverted easily; but what I found was- when people visit New York, they like to photograph the famous landmarks, the colour, the popular places in the city, and that’s great- but it got me thinking.
What I wanted to do with this project was to photograph New York in a different way. All in black and white (a favourite format of mine!) and to photograph the city in a way that it doesn’t scream New York City- in terms of landmarks and colour. The colour was an important factor to this project- to strip back the colour and vibrancy of New York, for the main reason that New York is such a colourful city. I thought it would be an interesting idea to strip it back.
I didn’t have a particular idea in my mind, what I would photograph- but what I did know and pre-plan was that I was going to photograph parts of NYC but not necessarily unknown locations, but hopefully in a different way, style and angle. The images could be in a famous location but I wanted to take that image and spin it on its side as it were, in terms of making and creating something different. Difference was key for this project and actually still is in my commercial side of work. Within work generally, I like to work with subtle colours as well as working with the black and white format, but I also love working with tones and textures- in which I found an abundance of in, New York. I also love creating images, that I get to experiment with composition and variable light intensities. I like various shapes of line that make up, or indeed break up, a composition and enhance the mood of a picture plane.
The thing with personal projects is that you never know how well it will turn out, but I came to the realisation (after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing in the early stages) is that if it’s an idea that you are passionate about and have the drive to do it- then what’s stopping you? (and II think this could apply to any work and project). It was a real treat to do it – because walking around NYC, it’s like a walking documentary and is always fascinating- and I find it inspiring to say the least! I usually have ideas for other projects when I am working on a personal project- or there might be a billboard, or poster on show, or it might be a particular area of the city or a shop- it can give me an idea towards a photo shoot- and I suppose it just shows inspiration can come from anything and anywhere!
I feel that this project was a success in the sense that I did what I planned on doing. I have received great feedback and emails from people in New York to say how refreshing it was to see New York photographed differently, and that in itself feels rewarding and definitely gives me the motivation to put even more effort and commitment in future projects.
It also emphasizes the sheer importance of personal projects- especially if you’re work is in the creative field, because a lot of time it is the personal projects that get noticed and can get you more work in the commercial world, It’s vital and great for your portfolio too. But even if you’re not in the creative field with a career- i think personal projects are a really good thing to delve into anyway and experience the process and the fun that can come with it!
With my NYC series, I very much focused on a moodier set of images, but you could really experiment with the ISO and create images at the other end of light intensity spectrum and create a completely different feel and mood of images.