Writes Jennifer Blau, "Creating a photo series to document a subject in depth can be a rich and rewarding process. But it can also be quite daunting: what is realistic to take on, what do I care about, who might want to see it and why might it be important to devote time to?
"These were some of the questions I grappled with when I began a 12-month mentorship with Contact Sheet in Sydney. Furthermore as the global pandemic hit, opportunities to exhibit the work began to evaporate. I decided instead to create a photobook, even if it could only be shared online.
"After working for many years in illustrated-book publishing before my own book was published, I am the first to understand that finding a publisher and a subject that has commercial appeal can be extremely difficult. But self-publishing a photobook is now an accessible process for us all and a satisfying way to present a longer visual narrative, even if we print only one book.
"Free of commercial constraints, I took the opportunity to focus on a topic I felt was important, but confronting: how we dismiss older people as they decline, told through a documentary series of my mother-in-law at 90. The resulting photobook, Patricia’s Room, was first released as a signed limited edition of just eight books, printed on demand by Momento Pro. While I was unsure as to whether the subject would have wide appeal I was delighted to have it selected among their ‘Best of 2020 Photobooks’ and the edition sold out. Since then, the images from Patricia’s Room have had further acknowledgement: one image was nominated as a finalist for the Living Memory National Photographic Portrait Prize this year and others have been selected for a featured exhibition in Sydney’s Head On Photo Festival in November. But getting here wasn’t easy..."
Read how Jennifer planned her project and put her plan into action in the current issue of Better Photography (Issue 105). Click on the link below to subscribe - plus you get immediate access to 50 back issues full of informative material and inspirational ideas! Use coupon codeBP40to get 40% off - just $29.88 for an annual subscription.
Me, My Camera and Our Pandemic - Reader Project (2)
Pandemic Photograph by Ken Spence
Better Photography contributor Ken Spence had a great idea - why not get our readers involved in a little pandemic project?
Writes Ken, "No matter where you live, this pandemic has been a shared experience of isolation. There are the extremes – Melbourne’s lock down total of 250+ days and counting being at one end of the spectrum, with Western Australia’s isolation from the rest of the country at the other.
"More broadly, as Australians we have all shared the common experience of isolation through the ban on international travel. This has changed what we can do and what we can photograph. For the many photographers who define their preferred genre of photography as “travel”, pity about that."
However, as Ken suggests, limitations can be a fuel for creativity, so we have cooked up the idea of providing a stage for Better Photography Magazine subscribers to share their creativity in the context of the pandemic with a larger audience. This may well involve aspects of isolation, but not necessarily.
"See this as an opportunity to document and share your personal experiences of this worldwide catastrophe. Our State and Federal leaders assure us that we will be on the other side in a few months and so we are calling for your contributions before the end of November 2021. Then in our Autumn 2022 edition, we will publish a selection under the heading “Me, My Camera and Our Pandemic” , plus release a web gallery of 100 contributed images."
We are very excited to see what our creative subscribers will share with us - and Ken has started the ball rolling with the photo at the beginning of this post. We know that this will result in a very powerful article that will provide a historic reference to this unique time in all our lives.
So, how do you contribute?
Step 1: Prepare a photo for submission. The subject is up to you. It might be something you edited from a trip taken years ago, or something you photographed around the home - that's up to you. However, the size you send to us should measure no more than 3000 pixels on the longest edge and be saved as a JPG at a moderate setting (e.g. setting 8 or 80%). Name your photo with your own name and a number (so we know whose photo it is): e.g. PeterEastway-01.jpg. If you send more than one, give the next one a higher number (PeterEastway-02.jpg)!
Step 2: Write a caption of no more than 50 words. You can start the caption with the title of the photo if you like. You can write a few words of poetry, you can explain what the subject is, how you photographed it, or relate something of interest you experienced during the pandemic. But no more than 50 words!!!
Step 3: Send the photo and a caption in an email with the heading - Pandemic Project - <Your Name> - Photo 1 (or 2, 3 etc). Use a separate email for each photo you submit. Insert the caption into the body of the email (do not attach a separate file). Insert the photo as an attachment, not in the body of the email (Mac users beware).
That's it! You have until the end of November to respond, but you can start sending in your photos whenever you like.
Peter EastwayFAIPP HonFAIPP HonFNZIPP APPL GMPhotogII MNZIPP Editor and Publisher
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