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Photographic series : from topic research to publication

When and how to begin ? 

We often believe that a project will not be able to take shape until we have a final plan for what we want to do, but we might be interested in a subject and then the idea will come only during the research step. It could be conceived ahead of time, but it is often (always ?) transformed and refined through research. The topic's definition and the creative process are the first steps of the project. By dint of reading on the theme and searching for photographic references, we develop our ideas ; we also specify and decide how we will act during the production. 

What are my resources ? 

In the second stage, you have to ask yourself. First, what do I need to carry out my project ? Then, what resources do you have at your disposal ? You need to strike a balance in between. If the project is ambitious, it could not be possible without external funding. To obtain it, you will have to build a case and be convincing ; new steps are being added and will take time. It is important to consider what your own resources enable you to achieve. Also, keep in mind that an exciting photographic project does not require traveling far but instead learning to become better observers of our immediate environment. 

Read Mathias Zwick Interview about photojournalism : "It's a documentation of our times. You don't have to go halfway around the world to get a strong image that can appeal to people."

© Mathias Zwick

"Belgicum" Series of Stephan Vanfleteren

© Stephan Vanfleteren

"When a Swiss friend pointed out to me that the central theme of this work was 'Belgium', I saw it as a whole. (...) From then on I set to work very deliberately, and it was in my own country that I traveled far and wide." S. Vanfleteren in his book "Belgicum" by Hannibal Publishing

Schedule your project

All projects must have a determined deadline. Setting a work schedule will help you to complete your project step by step. However, it may happen that during the editing phase (image selection and processing), you may feel the need to have more images to conclude the project. Therefore, the more accessible the subject is, the easier it will be to come back to it. During this editing part, keep in mind the questions raised at the beginning of your project. It ensures that you build the story as you planned. This step helps you clarifying the message and building the project's identity.

How do you want to present and broadcast your work ? 

Answering that question at the beginning will allow you to develop a global vision of the project. Later you can choose between three possibilities : 

  • spread it on the internet

  • an exhibition in a gallery

  • a book

You can do all three, but the presentation must be well-adapted to each of the distribution means. The narrative will change and help considering the project as a global work. Reflecting on the narrative changes between these three channels allows the project to keep growing and appearing as something alive.

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