Create: How to do Long Term Projects, Part One

If you endure all twenty-plus minutes of this you deserve a cash reward. Tough love. Remember that. Tough love. I know tough love is not something readily available in the online world where the facade of ease and perfection is the norm. Long term projects are one of the most rewarding things you can do with a camera, and perhaps one of the most important. Regardless of your skill level, you too can proceed with in-depth work. (But it might not be easy.)

Action shot!

Let’s talk ATTACHED photography projects. Long form, long range, long term and how to go about doing them. Also, this is part one, and it’s a long one but what else do I have to do other than record myself? As you will see, I learned the hard way about the Fuji turning off after “X” amount of time. Oops. But don’t fear, I’m a tech genius and was soon back on my feet.

The photo essay, the attached variety, is critically important, at least in the photography world, and historically they have even helped shape world events and policy. We need them today perhaps more than ever before. I will return with part two. You’ve chosen your project and are about to begin. Until then, just relax.

8 Comments on “Create: How to do Long Term Projects, Part One”

  1. Dan, as usual, I love your contributions to our personal development. An author you did not mention (maybe he is one of your other bins) is Ernesto Bazan, who has photographed in many settings (Peru, Bahia, Sicily, Mexico) year after year (often 10+ years). Perhaps, his most complete work results from his more than 20 years of photographing in Cuba (14 years of living there, an absence of 10 years and an interesting story why, and now returning many times in the last 4 years). Until this week, he had published 3 books on Cuba (Bazan Cuba, El Campo, and Isla) and now has released his 4th book about Cuba (25th of November). If you want to see a copy of the most recent work, just ask and I will get one to you — my treat.

    1. Hey David,
      I know Ernesto, barely. Ran into him in Sicily once actually. And I have two of his books. He’s very good.

  2. so stoked you mentioned Bunker Spreckels. “Surfing’s Divine Prince of Decadence” is such a great book.

  3. This was great. Really liked the part about detached vs. attached. Most of my stuff has been detached. For example, I shot some stuff related to Brexit and the Extinction Rebellion in London in October 2019, before the world turned. It was 95% detached, 5% interaction. I enjoyed it, and I learned some things from it, especially about Brexit, which I just couldn’t wrap my head around. That kind of work will always be something I’m interested in, but it’s the attached work that I’m far more interested in, and I haven’t made it happen. I’ve gotten close. Over the years I’ve become close with a few bands. I gently reminded them over time that the photos they’ll most enjoy having later are the off-stage, in between moments.

    After watching your video, I’m better able to see that the detached projects are great for short projects. Like the Brexit example. I was already going to be in London and wanted a photo project to work on while I was there. Catch as catch can. Those sorts of projects can also act as a break from longer term stuff.

    We’ll see if I ever get there. Talk is cheap. But I like the framework.

    1. Scott,
      Attached take a lot of time and resources. So, most often, it’s a balance of detached/attached. Nothing wrong with detached, at least some of the time.

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