Personal Projects | David duChemin

There’s a lot of talk among photographers about personal projects. I assume, by this, we mean projects that are not for clients, though I’ve tried very hard to never do a project that is not in some way also personal. Life’s too short. For me the key word isn’t “personal” because that’s assumed. If it’s not personal, don’t do it. No, for me the key word is “project.” The idea of a project is that it’s something specific, defined by constraints, and I believe very strongly in them. Personal projects lead to bodies of work. Personal projects provide a conduit for intentional creation. The alternative is an accidental, ad hoc approach to photography, an approach I also love but for most of us it’s a scattered approach that takes a lifetime of curating before it becomes something brilliant only in hindsight. The personal project is about intent and curation, the opposite of most 365 projects. I’m not qualified to speak about 365 projects. Much as I love what I do, I don’t do well with a sense of obligation. I love constraints. I don’t like obligation. It’s probably a difference that’s only in my mind, but I’d rather focus on a theme or a final body of work (which I admit I could do on a 365 project…) than the need to make photographs daily. I’d rather focus on what I create than how often I do so.

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