This month our professionals from All Is Amazing will be talking about photo projects; how to get started, challenges we face, and sharing their personal projects. Hopefully this will inspire you to get started on that idea you always had, or continue that old project you started but never finished. Here are their perspectives on the personal projects that they have done:
Honestly, I don’t know how many people are still into creating physical forms of the arts they created. Locally that is. With all the convenience of social media and other digital platforms, most creators would be satisfied with just posting their photos online. For quick recognition and once again, the convenience of it all then perhaps so but would the person be truly happy with their work? That’s for each of us to find out but I truly believe that creating a photobook or a zine will definitely put a smile on the creator’s face. That or I’m just justifying the time spent and the hefty amount of money spent for this physical art form with its end result. :’)
Anyways, I don't want to get ahead of myself but here’s my take on starting a photo project or any project to be honest. It could be fine art printing or a trip to Alaska over the course of 5 years to capture climate change that inevitably engulf us humans in the end. That leads me to my first point, knowing what you want to do. It doesn’t have to be grand or a project loved by many, you’re making it for you and that’s the most important lesson in this whole shabang. You’re in it for you, not anyone else. Figure out what you want to express in this project of yours, think of themes or specific things that can coexist within this project to further refine your end goal. Mind maps! If there’s one hot take from school that you should always keep in mind, mind maps help like a lot.
Now that you know what you want to do, it is all smooth sailing from there. In the case of mine, I am creating a zine that revolves around the environment of an area I’m living in and the people that are living there. So in general at this point, it doesn't matter what project it is that you’re doing, you need to execute it. Find the subjects or the materials associated with it so that you can turn your ideal into a reality. An advice would be to take your time with choosing the right subject or materials.
You’re also going to experience obstacles or challenges in your project in this step but push through it and you’ll be rewarded! I had to push my social anxiety and introvertness aside by manning up to ask random strangers if I could interview them and take photographs of them for my project. It all turned out well in the end but if things don’t go well on your side, there’s always more chances.
And that’s it, set your mind straight on what you want to do and do everything right till your project is completed. Do not be discouraged or give up when you run into challenges. It will all be worth it in the end. Just…… maybe don’t look at the cost you spent to make the project a reality once you’re done.
My first photo project, a zine titled I Won’t Be Here Long along with some digitals from the book:
There was a time when I was working on an exhibition for my passion project called Same Same. It’s a photo project about mixed race couples of Malaysia. While preparing for an exhibition, my good friend, who also happens to be an art lecturer, asked me - “do you have a print version of your exhibition, like a book or catalogue?”.
That’s when it hit me. People love to look at beautiful things, but that they love even more is something they can touch and feel. Something they can carry with themselves and check at home later, when they have more time.
I have never regretted a single moment for listening to my friend’s advice and printing out the book with all the exhibition photos and stories. Yes, it was a little extra from the budget, but not only people who visited the exhibition took it home, but long after the show was over, I was gifting these books to my friends and guests of All Is Amazing studio, to promote the project.
So what I’ve learned from all of this, is that printed media goes way further than digital or exhibition material. Printed book can become part of your personal collection at home, it gives you an opportunity to come back and revisit the exhibition anytime. Think about it as a long term marketing strategy.
To read more about this project, go to Same Same Project!
Sebalik is a photo project I started, but never ended up completing. I had just started working full time as a photographer, before that I was freelancing and shooting whatever I liked. As with most photographers starting out, I was nervous about photographing people. Having to interact with people, take photos of them, was extremely nerve-wracking for me.
To conquer that fear, I decided to go all out and start this project, photographing models. The concept behind “Sebalik” was to photograph models without all the glitz and glamour. Models are constantly being objectified, and a big part of their work is to sell the product they are wearing. I wanted to show that these models had personalities and stories that were special on their own.
After crafting a message about what this project was about, and what I wanted to do, I bit the bullet and DM-ed and e-mailed a bunch of models that were in the industry. Most of them I had met once or twice, some I had not met before. To my surprise, although there were some that did not reply, many were receptive and happy to be a part of the project!
This is a tip I wanted to share with you that I learnt through this; if you would like to collaborate with someone, especially models who get requests like this all the time, make sure you provide as much information about the shoot in a concise, respectful message, and they will be more likely to want to collaborate with you. Just be respectful and professional, no one likes to receive a one word message!
Getting back to the project, it taught me alot about how to interact with people, listen, and tell a story from the images. I am also glad to say that from that one project, I managed to build a relationship and friendship with a bunch of people and models!
Here are some excerpts from the project:
We hope this helps inspire you to just start your own project. You may be like me who did it for a couple months, and failed to complete it. The beauty of projects like this is you can always continue it whenever you want! Don’t have that unnecessary pressure on yourself to finish it, take your time, learn, improve and have fun along the way!