Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Value of Personal Work

So, the other day I'm thinking about the value of personal work and how great it is to do something that fulfills that hunger to create.

Generally speaking, I have a hard time distinguishing personal work and commissioned work. Why? because both are created by me and whether it's personal work or commercial/editorial work I still give it my all. However that is not what defines personal work.

A few weeks ago on a Sunday morning I was sitting at my computer and had this innate desire to shoot something that would allow me to spread my creative wings and fly. However, it was raining so the flight would have been short. So I grabbed my lighting gear and headed over to my parents house, (garage more specifically.) The plan was to shoot my brother with his guitar and maybe invite his drummer buddy and have a shoot with them together. I thought I'd capture them in a cluttered garage like the garage band they are. However, his friend couldn't come over, so I shot my brother instead. In my opinion this idea wasn't epic, it was just an idea, and besides I was doing something that I really loved. I knew that through trial and error creativity would lead from one thing to another to the third and forth and hopefully to something visually interesting.

A few weeks later I had to shoot high school player of the year all stars, where I was to shoot them in a make shift studio vs. on location. I immediately knew there was one shot I wanted to recreate. It originated during this personal project and now was super easy to recreate. Plus, the deadline to create these images was supper tight... they literally had to be shot in minutes!

The lighting set-up, composition, post production and so on, all came out of this self funded, self inspired personal project. The lesson being here, is that if you grab your gear and shoot an open ended project, you may discover something that can be very valuable. It may not come to fruition tomorrow or even in a week; however, you will have your back against the wall and many eyes burning at your back. It will also be the time when you reach for that specific technique and knowledge that you've discovered while working on your personal project.