So, I recently signed up to do SoFoBoMo. You can click through and read about it there, if you aren’t already familiar with it, but the short version is, it’s like NaNoWriMo for photography. I think it’s a great idea, although I don’t feel so positively about the name. It makes me think of someone trying to cuss me out while eating a peanut butter sandwich.
I signed up in part because I’m a sucker for stuff like this, but mostly because I have yet to do the sort of project where you conceive, execute, and output a bunch of images on a single subject in a delimited time window. And that seems like something I ought to be able to do, and ought to have practice doing.
I’ve debated a bit with myself on the topic. I was considering using my translation of Chapter 18 of the Mūlamadhyamikakārikāḥ (a Buddhist philosophical treatise in verse), but I think I should save that — I don’t think it would be best served by a rigid constraint on time and number of images.
So, I think I’m going to revisit a photograph (at right) I made some time ago, and with which I was never fully satisfied. The subject is a tree which is growing around a metal pole, and if allowed to continue growing, may at some point fully engulf the pole within itself. I plan to return to this subject, and to others like it, which embody the conflict of nature and civilization in small ways.
We’ll see how that works out for me. I plan to use my RB67 and shoot the whole thing on Portra 800, a film I know fairly well and from which I believe I can get good results in a wide variety of conditions. This will have the advantage of giving me high-quality output I know how to work with, along with a degree of built-in consistency. This is good, because consistency between images is not something I’ve previously worked to achieve; normally, I treat every image as a task unto itself. I don’t generally try to match the look of one image to another.
The downside is that this means shooting 35 images on 120 film (minimum four rolls; with any degree of redundancy, more like six-eight), and getting them developed and scanned, which adds overhead in the chronology.
Well, we’ll see.
Right now what I’m doing is scouting potential subjects. I may do a few still life images at home (likely with vegetables), but for the most part, this is going to be about things found in the “wild,” as it were. I normally just wait and shoot subjects as I come across them, but for this, I’ll need to make a lot of images in a comparatively short period of time in order to have the time needed to develop, scan, process, and design. Thus the need to plan ahead.
To do this, I’ve been using the combination of my Peek email device and Remember the Milk, an online todo list service with particularly good email integration. When I pass by something that I particularly like, I send an email to RTM, along with a reminder date (shooting for sofobomo won’t start for a while) and an instruction to file it in a separate sofobomo list.
I could, of course, keep a paper list, but the metadata aspect is really appealing, and paper doesn’t remind you when to do something. And while paper is great for some things (like taking notes while I’m shooting), I find it doesn’t work well for me when I’m aggregating lots of little notes over time. Either I make the notes in a fixed-page journal, in which case I have trouble finding them all later in the midst of the other text, or else I make them on a removable-page notepad, in which case I tend to lose the pages.
So, yay for technology….