Personal Projects: Photo Diversity

For a number of years we have been presenting the work of photographers that we generally include under a “personal project” heading, meaning essays and long-term dedication to a subject, a “cause,” or a particular field of study that uses images to help tell the tale. These projects generally focus on a point of view, a social commentary, or a distinct subject that the photographer finds of interest. They draw upon a legacy of photo essays that are a mainstay of how the camera has always been and continues to be used to communicate, to amuse, to give you a sense of wonder, or to convince you about changes that need to be addressed to better the world. They are presented as “evidence” of a point of view and often ask you to consider more deeply the topic presented, or inspire you to undertake a body of work that both codifies your perception of the world around you and makes a statement about where you stand.

In some cases these personal projects may simply serve as a kind of short story on a particular subject that strikes the photographer’s fancy, or serve as a springboard to a commercial career in which the project serves as a kind of portfolio of skills. As anyone who undertakes creating a body of work knows, specializing or narrowing focus on a particular topic, and coming up with a cohesive body of work, is perhaps one of the best ways to hone your visual and photographic skills, and one of the most challenging aspects of the craft.

Telling a story visually demands a lot more work than just the creating of images on the topic; it includes lots of planning, editing, and agonizing over, for example, choosing 12 or even 120 images that work together to communicate a point of view. In all, it’s telling stories in a way that only photography can accomplish. And when the story requires both words and pictures the task is even more daunting. But the rewards are great on both a personal and often professional level, and the breath of life it brings to your work will invigorate you to continue creating even more meaningful images down the road.

We hope you enjoy the essays in this issue, and we look forward to publishing more of these personal projects in the future, so keep us in mind as a vehicle to begin to share them with the world. Write me at editorial@shutterbug.com for our submission guidelines.

On perhaps a more mundane level, in this issue we start our product reports from the recent Consumer Electronics Show (which incorporated the Photo Marketing Association Show that had been a mainstay of new product intros every winter) and we’ll be covering everything of interest to our readers at the show. We start out with the newest D-SLRs and interchangeable lens compact cameras and continue in the coming months with reports on new lenses, accessories, tripods, lighting, and more. Did I say D-SLRs? I guess I should say HD-SLRs, which is Nikon’s catchphrase for their new D4, and shows you how manufacturers are boosting video capabilities as the next best thing. The new Nikon and Canon models are premium products made for working pros, but there are lots of new products for all to share in the issues ahead.

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