In my opinion, it doesn’t matter what kind of photographer you are, whether you're a commercial photographer, a portrait photographer, a fashion photographer or even a hobbyist photographer, I would always recommend working on personal projects.
When you work in the photography industry, especially in advertising, you can often find yourself working to someone else’s brief. An art director or client has an idea and you work together to help them realise that idea to promote a brand, product or service. It’s a collaboration but the original idea usually starts with someone else. So it’s important, as a creative, to find the time for personal projects to create work that is exactly that... ‘personal’. Work that YOU’RE passionate about, work that is inspired by YOUR ideas and YOUR interests and not necessarily with anyone else, even the end viewer, in mind.
I have found so many benefits to working on personal projects. A Personal project can give you direction and motivation and can give you a chance to experiment technically and creatively, maybe even in a completely different medium than photography (I write, I sketch and I am always trying to create in some way!). They are a great way to stay inspired and challenge yourself to grow as a photographer and a creative. It doesn’t matter whether a project lasts a day, a year or a lifetime, if you have a theme or an idea that sparks your creativity, the time limits are up to you.
As a professional photographer, I’m always working on personal projects alongside my commercial work. Some of these you may have seen and some may never see the light of day, but I always make time and try and push myself to keep growing as a creative. I guess in some ways the blog has become a personal project. It’s keeping me accountable and giving me direction every week to be creative and come up with interesting subjects to write about, like this very one on the importance of ‘Personal Projects’.
With all that in mind I figured I would talk about one of my favourites, and at times challenging, personal projects that I have done to date, the ‘Selfie Twat’ project!
I photograph people! It’s what I love to shoot! What I don’t love… are pictures of me! So therein lies the challenge! With the ‘Selfie Twat’ project I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone. Personally, by challenging my own sense of ego I guess and creatively give myself a chance to explore different ideas and concepts to produce a series of creative self-portraits. 12 to be precise, one for every month of the year.
Each image represents a feeling, an idea, a passion or an emotion about, or from me! Each one was a challenge in it’s own way whether to come up with the idea/concept or in the execution, but here they are!
I have included all 12 of them for you to check out and I have given them each a small caption to give you a little clue about what the hell was going on in my brain at the time of creating them!
In a time when we are so used to seeing the conventional ‘selfie’ saturating our screens The ‘Selfie Twat’ project allowed me to explore multiple ideas and techniques of photography but also forced me to look at myself and who I am a little more and my idea of ‘self’ through images. Self-reflection and self-study is key to this idea of continuous improvement for me. I found it creative, weird, cathartic and empowering all at the same time and I would encourage any creative reading this to embark on your own personal projects for all the reasons I have also stated. The subject doesn’t matter, the medium doesn’t matter as long as it is personal to you and it feeds your soul!
Thank you once again for taking the time to check out the blog! Long one again this time dissecting all those images but I hope that it might give you a little more of an insight into me as a creative photographer. I would love to know which images are your favourites and why. Feel free to get in touch and say hello and I hope that you have enjoyed the blog and if you haven’t then why not suggest a topic for me to discuss in the future. See you next time!