Back in April I blogged about the start of the Faces of Friendship project I am working on this year. 136 days in, I figured it is as good a time as any for a brief update.
I am still keeping the finer details under wraps but what I will say is that it has so far been a terrific experience - not just with respect to developing and honing my own photography, but also in terms of project management and collaborating with others.
Any apprehensions I had about it being the difficult second album have so far been unfounded. The range of shots I am capturing in each session is significantly greater than first time around, which is in large part down to the willingness of my friends who have really embraced the project.
Working alongside Penny has also been an education. While our disciplines are different, we share the same vision for the final product. It is my first time collaborating with someone on a project as large as this but the benefit of having someone to bounce ideas off has really helped keep the momentum up.
And what are the key lessons I have learnt so far?
1. Always set deadlines, but keep them realistic
It's important to keep yourself on track and having an end-date to aim for is important to prevent the project from drifting. But don't set tight deadlines that you know will be difficult to achieve, especially if it risks sacrificing quality.
2. You can never be too organised
This project is all about people, and people tend to have busy lives. Schedule the shoots, confirm the venues, and have a plan of action for the day so that everyone knows what to expect well in advance.
3. Have a vision, but don't be afraid to change it
Throughout this project I have changed my mind many times over the use of colour or black and white. Know what it is that you want to achieve but keep an open mind and don't stubbornly stick to the original game-plan at the expense of other ideas.
4. Celebrate the milestones, no matter how minor
Mid and long-term projects are a test of endurance. It doesn't matter how significant or not the milestone is but be sure to celebrate them to give yourself regular boosts of morale.
5. Learn to accept that it's OK to take a break
All projects start with a burst of energy, productivity and creativity but fatigue will kick in at some point and enthusiasm can wane. Don't trick yourself into thinking this is the end of the line; it is usually just a sign that you need a break. Take some time away from the project for a short period and come back to it afresh and recharged.
6. Have an idea of what you want to do with it
While you should not get too far ahead of yourself, it is important to have some idea of what you want to do with your project once complete. Whether it is simply hosting the photographs on a website or exhibiting the work in public, give some thought to this as it can help to shape the direction of the project.
And on that note, I have the next round of sessions to arrange...