It is important to set goals. This is especially true in photography. When we are engrossed in a hobby we enjoy it is easy to drift in the enjoyment of the moment but at the end of the day have nothing to show for it! But what goal? Well, that is where setting yourself a project comes in.
By picking something you want to accomplish, something you can admire, something you can show to other people when you are done, you create a challenge that moves you in a direction. It forces you to think and learn about your craft as you try to realize the thing you have seen in your mind. It does not have to be complicated. It does not have to be done quickly and it does not have to take a long time. It simply has to be capable of completion.
As I have said elsewhere here, I have a long term goal of creating a memory of Queen’s University in the 60’s. That is a long term goal. I have just finished a short term project.
Last March I spent a week on business in Amsterdam and we stayed at the Sofitel Grand Hotel. It was a beautiful place with a great deal of history and I determined to create three prints of the Hotel and its neighborhood.
Today, I am done. Three prints on Epson Cold Press Natural Watercolour Paper, 24″ wide by 18″ deep. They look very nice, good colour, and processed to the point they can be mistaken for engravings by someone not familiar with modern photography.
The first print is an image taken in the courtyard of the hotel. I have processed the file so that the print looks like an etching and more than one viewer has expressed confusion about what they are looking at.
The second print is simply the street behind the hotel. Of course, in Amsterdam the term ‘street’ can be confusing. The hotel is the brick building on the left hand side in the image. I was on the 4th floor looking out onto this street. My room was approximately opposite the red car on the right side. That is important when looking at the next image.
Finally, the third picture was taken from my hotel room window. I was staying in room 401 which looked out onto the street in the second print. About 4 am some young people in the street were having a little too much fun and they woke me up. Unable to fall asleep I got up and looked out the window. I saw this scene. So, always ready to capture an image, I got my camera and took this picture. I was then able to fall peacefully back to sleep.
This little project has given me three very nice images all connected with the Grand Hotel. And it was a learning experience. It took a while to get all three processed so they looked to be in the same style, although the subjects were varied. I had to match the ‘edginess’ of the processing, the colour balance and the brightness. I even had to come up with captions that unified the prints and looked balanced in relationship to each other. Your computer screen does not do them justice.
I have them up on the wall by my printer and as the days go by I am sure I will begin to see flaws in the work and want to start adjusting all over again. But, for now, I have a completed project I can show you when you come over. Oh, if you’re reading this, I guess I have already shown them to you!