I’ve been busy — or rather, not busy at all.
Post-graduation life has left me stressed about looking for a full-time job, looking for occasional clients, and putting myself in more debt for the sake of making my work and enabling myself to get the job I hope for. Latently affecting my willingness to write my posts for The Ones That Didn’t Make it. I don’t think I will go back to write them, but I will write the final post looking back at the photographs as a whole collection of “failed” images. While it’s worth the self-critique to help improve myself and my understanding of my personal photographic philosophy, when I look at the upcoming photographs, it’s starting to get repetitive with my reasoning. You could probably read a handful of the older posts and easily figure out the reason why the newer posts are included in that bunch of “failed” images.
But not all it lost. The past month and a half, I’ve been actively trying to make photographs as often as possible. While that currently stands as only three total days where I have gone out with the intent to make photographs, it has left me with nearly one hundred images that could be seen in any number of projects — new or current. I’ve been actively reading about subjects of photography that are of interest to me, but also directly applicable to my primary project, a photographic survey of Illinois’ segment of Route 66 (in which the name may differ, I’m going to play around a bit with it).
The primary book I’ve been reading and viewing is Aperture’s publication from 2014, The Open Road. David Campany made a note in the section about Ed Rushca, “Perhaps we cannot ‘see’ such everyday things unless they are photographed.” This comment resonated with my photographic philosophy like nothing else. I’ve known that this idea has been part of my mentality for a while, but seeing it in words such elegantly put made my realize I really am on to something here.
My multitude of projects all lack something, though. People. While I’m not a portrait photographer (unless it’s a musician), if I approach the subject matter with the eye of a documentary style photographer that I am, it makes things easier for me.
My Route 66 project is in the same strain of projects that Sleeping By The Mississippi is, that Uncommon Places is, that The Americans is. It’s a road-trip project about one subject: Route 66. After reading The Open Road and viewing more work in this strain, as well as noticing the distinct lack of humans in my work, I began to feel that my work may be connected with less than that of a similar project featuring stranger’s faces.
As it stands now, my Route 66 project is composed of six 1:2 panoramic photographs. Those are there to stay. I like the purpose they serve in the scheme of the project, how they talk with photographers in history and photographer still alive and hard at work in the same strain. But a project of only panoramas seems not only repetitive, but emotionless. I want people to develop a personal connection with the road, and more specifically, Illinois’ connection with the route and its lack of effective documentation.
While I’ve been making my vernacular photographs on my walks around town, I’ve been reading and writing about my larger projects, the ideas that have some sense of concrete understanding. Leaving my other projects to be more casually approached and to really hit this Route 66 project hard.
I’ve already been planning on it, but I’ll be applying to grants left and right to fund this project. With a now (subjectively) better understanding of where I want to go with my Route 66 project, I think it’s time I start writing proposals and start shooting some more.