This is the very first photo I took for my "Falling Into Place" self portraits project. I took it six months ago today. Since that time I'd estimate I've taken over 8,000 photos, only 60 of which I consider "keepers," and even some of those could still be cut. But, after seeing this photo--one I'd eliminated right away--I realize I need to go back over all 8,000 with a fresh eye. I suspect there are some keepers hiding in there.
This reminds me of a comment made on his "Road Trips" blog by David Alan Harvey, the Magnum photographer who's been mentoring me on this project since the start. Regarding the process, when I was one month into it David wrote:
working on a long term project goes something like this:
(a)initial burst of energy and enthusiasm..first pictures...this is the easiest part
(b) a slow down....second guessing, tortured thinking...wondering if it will work out...this is the hardest part
(c) second wind....another burst of energy from out of nowhere..more good work comes...you start to see something really developing
(d) another slowdown...but not as bad as the first....because by this time you will have a pretty good body of work...and this time you must tell yourself you cannot quit..too much at stake by now!!!
(e) your final burst!!! like a runner at the end of a race...last kick!!!! squeeze squeeze squeeze...
(f) knowing you are done...just absolutely done....
(g) time to edit....and then that whole process all over again with editing!!
(h) time to pursue a layout...time to study typography, design, paper, binding...which publishers will work best??
(i) time to "make it happen"...do it..find the publisher, organize an exhibition, seek gallery space...
(j) stay on top of the printing and distribution..make sure it comes off the press as you intended....
(k) opening night....all your friends and family are there...pop a bottle of champaigne!!! make a speech..sign books..enjoy enjoy enjoy!!!
you MUST believe this is all worth it..and i can tell you that it is....but, you must know that this process is totally agonizing as well...you will suffer...you will be elated...you will suffer again and again...you must be happy with the percentages of pain/pleasure....90% pain, 10% pleasure...but that 10% is rare air...a place where very few go...
YOU should go there!!!!
According to David, we're close to the layout/book dummy stage. Not that I'm finished shooting. In fact, he's talking about my continuing to take photos for this project until early summer 2009, but he'd like us to start pulling together a presentation for publishers. And when David Alan Harvey talks about possible publishers he's talking about Aperture, powerHouse, Phaidon and Trolley. He personally knows the top editors or owners--some of whom have published his books--and promises to see to it that they see my work.
I still pinch myself in disbelief that all this is really happening.