Tutorial in the Art of Seeing – The Mini Project

One of the things I mention on my workshops to help photographers in  how they see the world and bring efficiency to their work is my Mini-Project idea.  This is an exercise in tuning your attention to very specific things.  A Mini-Project is just what it says on the tin;  a small well focused self-assigned photography project to help you enhance how you engage with the world around you in a more visual way.  Have you ever had a friend buy a new car – and your world is suddenly filled with that particular model of car – surprise! –  the world has not suddenly created 1000’s of beige Pintos, it’s just you paying attention to something that has been brought to your attention.  Simple.

So how do you start a mini project: find something that interests you and photograph it constantly. It can be anything, a car, a shape, old gum on the pavement, whatever, but keep at it until you have 50-100 plus images of “it”, they don’t have to be brilliant images(though you should make the effort!).  You will start to dream about it and daydream about it, whatever “it” is.  Then appreciate the work you have done and find something else to shoot and do another 50 images.   This is a visual exercise and it’s good to change things up once in awhile –   you wouldn’t go to the gym everyday and just do one thing.  The part of your brain that drives your craving for photography will physically get bigger(cant promise this but it makes sense).

My last mini project was snails trails.  Sounds boring, maybe, but wow it really tuned me into how snails move and how that slimy trail is best seen when I’m on my knees and my camera inches from the ground ( it happens to be the best incident angle for the highly specular “snail trail”!).  Not easy.  Brown Pintos would have been easier.   Be sure to have fun!

an early morning snail trail. I got dozens of them lol!