Writing to Stimulate Ideas

Recently I pulled together a small portfolio of my coastal images with the intention of figuring out how to expand on the set.   Sometimes this is obvious, for me however it wasn’t clear in this case.  General advice would be to have a range of focal lengths, different light, different times of day, different weather, alternate view-point… the list goes on.  What I was struggling with was more foundational – what am I trying to say with this body of work, what is the major theme.  Many of the photographs in the portfolio weren’t taken ‘intentionally’ but were more my response to what was in front of me.  This of course makes it exceptionally hard when people review your images and say ‘that looks good do more like that’.  I didn’t know what ‘that’ was!

My solution was to spend 15 or so minutes describing my initial impressions of the images as a set.  I didn’t want to dwell on each image and be too thoughtful, but rather capture my initial impressions, very much like what I had done when I originally made the image.  This brainstorming session has been enormously helpful.  Not only do I now have a clearer idea of my intention but the brainstorming has also given me a list of potential new projects that would fit with my other work.  I also found the process enormously energizing.

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