A Ramble on Projects

Normally I focus on photography, so today is going to be something a little different and you may notice devoid of any photos. As you may or may not know I am working on a few projects this year and today I though it’s be nice to go through how the process of putting ideas/projects together. It’s not a how to, or guide it’s just mostly my thoughts and ramblings about projects I am working on.

Photography Zines

At the start of the year I was really jazzed about making a zine every 2 months and really putting energy into getting my photography made into zines that I could distribute online and hopefully locally at craft fairs, book fairs and other places about Montreal. What really got me excited is I noticed within existing zines the type of photography and layout I’d really enjoyed just wasn’t out there. The ideas started coming to me so quickly, it seemed like something so simple to put together. While I am still jazzed, and have an abundance of ideas I haven’t had much time to devote to this project. I’m terrible at devoting time to certain things over others. I’m very emotional that way and go with my internal flow always, meaning I don’t actively force myself or sit down and say ‘hey, time for this project for the next hour – go’. So this project is just ideas and no motions. I feel like I know what it would take to make a zine, and choosing the photos around a central idea seems relatively easy as well. What’s hold me back? I’d guess the idea of failure. Like anything you make with the intention of selling it, the hope is that you sell it. I just don’t think I know what people would buy and that stops me from picking one idea over the other and making a zine. If my first zine I make doesn’t sell a copy, do I just sink money with another one? I don’t think losing money is really the problem though, it’s more why keep making more. It’s not like jewellery or other things where I can just keep it or give to friends; a zine is not that useful to me if nobody buys it. Yet I really want to put one out, so maybe instead of trying to go big I can focus on doing 2 this year instead of 6. I’ve been thinking about doing a #mtlcrane one with last year’s pictures in time for this year’s round to start so that I will start on April and hopefully release at the start of the month and then a double exposure one for the Fall time.

Installation for Spring

While I’m not necessary keeping this project a secret I would like to not going into detail about what it’s about online at the moment. It’s a passion project and something I’ve thought about for several years so I’m at the stage where I need to focus on making it a reality and don’t need outside opinions. In fact I just recently sat down with an artist friend and spewed in details my intentions of the project, the logistics, possible objections others might have about it, and just really let her know everything and she was really positive. Having that person to bounce the idea off of once a project is out of the incubation is fantastic. Just having someone who you trust to tell you if your idea isn’t clear or you may step on toes is wonderful. Right now I’ve cemented what I need to do and how I am going to get there – mostly. For starters if you follow me on Instagram you may notice me doing weekly updates on Monday about how many cranes I’ve made the week before. This outdoor installation I’ve decided to make a total of 3,000 origami cranes. I started with 1,000 that turned into 2,000 and in the middle of February I changed it to the final number of 3,000. The main reason is because I want this project to have a certain amount of visual impact and although 1,000 cranes does sound like a lot as someone who’s made over that before it doesn’t actually visually look like that many. As of right now I’m sitting at about 900 cranes made after only 3 weeks of casually making them, and while I don’t have an official date for the project to launch I need to get the cranes made as soon as possible. The research phase was mostly done at the end of January and beginning of February. As of right now I’m still in the research phase but I moved into the creation aspect without completing it because of the huge demand of making that amount of cranes. The research part is very mentally draining as well and I usually only do it late at night because as someone who suffers from depression it’s very hard for me to bounce back from doing it and be my normal self. The idea of getting closer to the end point is also right now terrifying to me because it’s going to require me turning my whole house in a virtual origami crane exhibit. There is also time consideration which you may have noticed sometimes I don’t post on Thursday anymore and not next week but the week after I’m actually taking the week off to work on this project. This is a project I am so passionate about I just want to work on it day and night when I get home and even while I am at work. It’s all I want to do. That has really helped me getting through the work, my  passion for the end result. I can close my eyes and visualize what it will look like and I can only hope that I can create what I’ve envisioned.

Setbacks so far:

People around me, mostly co-workers have noticed how much time I am spending on this project and naturally have asked me what it’s about. I’ve been honest although vague about it and the reactions I’ve gotten from people are…silence? Nobody says anything bad but they immediately become less interested in hearing more after my first response. It is not a nice, polite topic as British people would say but it’s been disheartening and actually propelled me even more. I know people in general like positive things and they don’t want to hear about negative and uncomfortable topics which is their choice but I wish people would be as interested as I am about hearing about the subject matter as its important. I’ve had a few people who get it, so all I can do it realize not everyone will be interested. If you like light and fluffy projects btw then follow mtlcrane which is all about sharing positive moments with strangers around Montreal and engaging people in a fun way but this project just happens to use origami cranes to convey a serious message because I think they are suitable symbols.

Resin Paintings

For Christmas I really wanted to make Victor a resin painting where I paint one layer with acrylic paint, resin it and then apply another layer, so forth and so forth. Visually paintings made with resin layers are beyond trippy and the 3D effect is mind blowing. I’d love to make my own. I am, how do I put it nicely….complete shit at painting? Okay that’s harsh, I’m mediocre at painting but I’d love to create one, maybe even more. When I have an idea I need to run with it and see it through, instead of just cherry picking things that come ‘easy’ to me. I think that’s very important to remember, all those amazing painters at some point weren’t that great, they worked hard to get where they are. Me, being afraid of failure perpetually (nasty side effect of being emotionally abused as a kid – constantly negative) I need to remember that I can’t do what’s easy to me. If there is no fight or struggle there is no growth, less satisfaction and no chances for more. I bought all the materials at Christmas time too so I have nothing to lose and no excuses to not make one resin painting. So this project is one of those where I need to get over myself, stop discouraging myself and creating a false start. Those types of projects where the biggest obstacle is you are the hardest.

If you read this far into my rambling, congratz. I really wanted to let you know what I do when I’m not working on the blog beside my full-time job and share with you a bit of my process.

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Lomography Projects & Goals for 2015.

For the 2nd year in a row I thought I’d start off the year with a few lomography projects & goals in mind that I’d like to complete by the end of 2015. Now last year’s two projects were….how do I say this…complete failures? That sounds about right. The 100 Strangers project is actually an amazing idea and I’d love to do it again at some point but I think my overall shyness is something I still need to work on as my first rejection made me too gun-shy to continue. I think for now I will leave that project to others as I don’t feel able to commit to trying again (maybe also not a good project to start in the dead of winter, it’s -30 outside…)  As for my People & Places project, well I didn’t really even attempt to do it as I decided mid-year to have a sort of vacation from film in 2014. However despite last year failures this year I thought I’d setup a few more goals then projects to encourage me and rekindle my spirit for lomography and film photography.

Project 1:  People & Places

Shoot double exposures of People & Places using film. This is my big project for the year and I am hoping to shoot at least 2 rolls of film for it. Now that seems like a small amount but considering it will require me to take over 72 photos of landscapes/cityscapes and then shoot the film again taking 72 portraits, 2 rolls is not an easy task. Especially since I want to make sure I have a wide variety of subject matter. I am so excited by the way, this year I feel confident I can make this project a reality. I was also thinking about sending film to a friend in Mexico that loves lomography cameras as well to see if she could collaborate with me on this project. For more information about what People & Places is check out my original post about it.

Goal 1: Home develop half of my backlog of film

I have a huge backlog of film that hasn’t been developed yet (some of it is several years old).  Most of the cameras I shoot on are not a format supported by cheap developing shops and I’d rather not have to sell a kidney to pay for more expensive development places. I’ve also had issues getting quality development here in Montreal in the past.  This dilemma of sorts has led to me having over 30 rolls of 120 and 35 films just sitting in my fridge waiting to be developed. I’d love to process at least 10 rolls by the start of the summer and by the end of the year to have halved my backlog and maybe complete it (that`s a bit too ambitious but half I feel is reasonable).

Goal 2: Teach myself to develop colored film

Did I mention that most of my backlog is colored film that I don’t know even know how to develop? Yup, so I guess I need to do this first before my first goal can be achieved. It’s supposed to be trickier than black and white as the temperature of the chemicals has to be more precise. I’ve developed about 10 rolls of black and white film  so I feel confident to try it out and already have the chemicals to do so. This is also time sensitive because as soon as Spring gets into full effect I will have very little control over the temperature of my house and that will make colored film development even harder. Up for the challenge.

Goal 3: Review 5 Cameras

It feels like it’s been forever since I reviewed a toy camera so I’d love to do at least 5 reviews this year.  That should be an easy goal since I do have over 5 cameras that come to mind that I have never reviewed.  The only challenge is reviews take a lot of time and effort, and have enough experience with the camera to have a good/useful opinion on them…

Goal 4: Shoot 10 Rolls of Film

So once I’ve gotten through my backlog and my fridge doesn`t look like a museum for undeveloped film I’d love to start shooting film again and trying out some of my newer cameras that have never been used. I have never completely stopped shooting film but last summer I made the choice to take only instant photography until I got back into developing my own film. I still am obsessed with my Fujifilm Instax 90 and my vintage Polaroid’s but it`d be nice to shoot film again. 10 rolls felt like a reasonable number but I have a feeling I`ll blow away this goal.

Goal 5: Use 7 New Cameras

This is a great goal I think for any photographer. Most of the time I have a main camera that is used constantly and one or two others I pack with me when I am going somewhere interesting. So I need to be reminded to get out of my comfort zone.  To fix this I want to use 7 cameras this year  that I`ve never shot with. Most of them I bought last year and just never got around to loading them up with film, or they have film inside and I’ve shot a few photos but never finished the roll.  This is a must goal for me. I don`t know if I will share all the photos with you guys but I hope to start making Lomography Wednesday have a bit more variety as I know I’ve been heavy on the Instax Mini shots (seriously I love this camera, I don`t want to stop).  I also happen to have over 40 cameras between my toy cameras and vintage cameras not to mention my DSLRs so it can be hard to find time for each one.

Project 2: Making a Lomography Zine

This year I feel will be the year of zines. I have so many ideas in my head and maybe I`ll create a whole post about getting into zine making at some point. For now one of the ideas I have is to make a zine of Holga shots in a lovely square format. I am thinking of using my Holga shots I took during a roadtrip I went on where I visited 11 states in 2 weeks alone back in 2009. Even if I change my mind I think it`d be amazing to make one zine this year about toy cameras.

Those are my goals for this year when it comes to lomography and toy cameras. Seeing them all together looks very ambitious but I`m confident that this year will give me plenty of chances to work on my film photography and continue my passion for toy cameras. Next year in January I am going to have a look back and see how I`ve done but for now I better get to work. Let me know below if you have any goals this year for your photography or even a project you think I`d enjoy!

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Self-Portrait Sunday

citizen erased, citizen erased photographyTomorrow my monthly DIY project will be how to make paper origami crane chains which are one of my favourite things. In 2008 I made 1500 paper cranes and made chains of 1000 of them for good luck. It was a really fun project and when I was done I toke a few photos of me with them when my hair was blue and red and so short. :) This photo brings make a lot of old memories of my last year in Vancouver. I have 6 of the chains left, I gave a few to friends and to coworkers with kids. Look out tomorrow for how to make your own!

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