Series and themes

Although I love photography, and I enjoy doing my 365 project, I find it difficult to focus on one theme or a series. Well, to be honest, I find it difficult to focus in general, as I’m always busy on lots of things and little projects. That’s why I do photography, make music, paint, write, sew and do crochet and knitting, to keep myself interested.

But I’ve heard a lot about the need to focus in photography, about concentrating on one or two areas of expertise instead of being an all-round photographer. Basically people say: be very good in one area instead of being mediocre in ten. I do find it difficult though, what should I focus on, what should be my area of expertise? I like the city, I like urban photography, I like finding interesting places to shoot in the harbor, I love architecture, but I love capturing moments with people as well. What should I do? How do people find themes to focus on? I know for some people this comes easy. They love photography, they love horses: voila! Others love photography and love sports: there you go! But me, well, I just like lots of things!

With the photocollective D4 we gave ourselves the assignment to do something with the theme Roots. I thought about it, but my creative process didn’t go much further than finding restaurants that came from the places that are my roots. I’m not too happy about the outcome, I think I could’ve done a far more interesting job, but the creative part of my brain just didn’t feel like doing a lot of work I guess. I could explore this more, although I had an interesting conversation with my boyfriend about this yesterday. According to him, you don’t have to put in an awful lot of thought into a series. If you take pictures of dustbins for three years and put them all together, people find it interesting because you present such a huge collection. You could do this with lantarns, facades of little restaurants, etc. Key is to make lots of pictures of the same thing, then it becomes interesting. I don’t know though. It might be true, but I want to be remembered for a little bit more than just the girl who took thousands of pictures of dustbins. I want to tell stories, I want to make a series and actually say something with it. I don’t want empty photos.

But maybe making a series that tells a story is just too difficult for now, and I should just start with something easy. Just to get me going. But where to start, what theme to pick? All things blue? All things with a number on it? All things with an ‘A’, all traffic lights? Sigh, I haven’t got a clue. Feel free to post your ideas, or let me know what series you’re working on. I could so use some inspiration!

(By the way, if you’re wondering about my choice of restaurants: Indonesian is because I grew up there, and people always think I’m Indonesian, and I feel that way too. My grandmother is from Surinam so that’s in my blood. HEMA so typically Dutch, and Burger King is in this series because I went to an international school and for some reason still feel all mushy when I hear the Star spangled banner.)

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