behind the scenes | creating a personal project

Typically, my thinking on developing a personal photography project is to make and/or curate a collection as a complete set and then reveal the project. The idea behind this line of logic stems from several assumptions. The first being that I might do better to live with the pictures for a period of time, allowing for the project to unfold. I often dislike the pictures I make initially, coming to love them only with time. The theme is often unclear, pictures drop in and out, and the middle stages are often a big mess. The second reason for the big reveal centers around the notion that a completed project is more cohesive and telling. This is, of course, true. But is that reason enough? Might the sharing of the work help to propel the project forward?

I’m curious what might happen if I build the project in real time in this journal.

Tuning out the harsh voice of judgment.

Making space for imperfection.

Retreating when needed.

It all began when I found a large plastic bag filled with old sewing notions in a local thrift shop for five dollars. I fell in love with the tattered pincushion, a large velvet-covered tomato dotted with pins and needles every which way. My thought was that I would purchase the notions and keep them on hand for still-life photography practice in the cold winter months when I’m less likely to venture outdoors.

I planned to wait. I really did. I tried to wait. I really did.

But as soon as my hands touched the contents of the bag, my brain started weaving ideas. I knew that I didn’t want to make traditional photographs of the items. I was more interested in exploring how the sewing items related to what it means to be a woman of a certain age.

And so I began. Relying on pretty, because pretty is what I know.

Starting with the large pincushion.

I tried two different approaches, making use of what I had on hand.

the pincushion on the Sunday paper, Artist Preview section

the pincushion on vintage wrapping paper with pins as stamens from the amaryllis lily

The other items in the bag — a few zippers, two thimbles, a tape measure, buttons and thread — will wait their turn. I wonder how this project will grow and develop.