LTP 101: Shooting in Series

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In this solo show Bart tries to inspire you to think in terms of small collections of related images that work together to become more than the sum of their parts. In other words, Bart tries to inspire you think beyond single photos, and shoot little series of photos too.

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Back in episode 59 I shared my thoughts on photographic projects in great detail. The definition for a project that I argued for was:

A planned collection of related images shot over an extended period of time designed to be more than the sum of its parts.

By that definition, starting a project isn’t something you do on a whim! But surely there’s something between shooting single images, and committing to a project? Yes! — shooting a series of images.

Series is a word, it has a meaning, but what do I mean by it? I’ve been thinking about that a lot in the last few months, because I’ve found myself thinking more and more in terms of small collections of photos that tell more of a story than the sum of their parts. In the end I settled on this simply definition:

A series is a small collection of related images that make a logical whole, and can be easily shared as a unit, e.g. in a single tweet or IM to friends or family.

Thanks to COVID my days have become very regimented in the past 2 years — I have just three standard morning walking routes, three similar lunchtime walking routes, and why my cycling routes are still dictated by the wind (always cycle into the wind on the out-bound leg!), Ireland’s winds are also very regimented, mostly south-westerlies with a few westerlies and the odd north-westerly to chill you to the bones!

How do you keep shooting interesting photos if you’re spending all your time in such a small range of places? Without thinking about what I was doing, I’ve found myself sharing more and more little series of photos on Twitter. Sometimes it’s two, three, or maybe four photos attached to a single Tweet, sometimes it’s a short thread with five or six photos, and when I get really inspired it’s a collage or a diptych/triptych.

Now that I’ve noticed the trend I’m starting to pro-actively think about little series I’d like to shoot, and ways to share them.

When it comes to sharing I’ve got nothing earth-shattering to add to the discussion:

  1. A few photos posted together somewhere
  2. Two or three photos merged into a single image (diptych/triptych)
  3. A Collage

But I would like to suggest some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  1. A collection of related things“all the X of Y”, e.g.:
    • I did a big collage of all the different varieties of Daffodil growing in St. Patrick’s College Maynooth last spring (I found ten!):…
    • Or this collection of all the different berries I found growing along the banks of the Royal Canal on a single walk last autumn:….
  2. Multiple points of view on the same thing, perhaps from different angles, or at different zoom levels. E.g.:
    • Three views I recently shot of the same former industrial mill along the Royal Canal in Dublin:…
    • And three very different views of the same amazing morning sky over the boathouse and bridge in Carton House near Maynooth:…
  3. A time series — the same place or thing at different times of the day or year, maybe once in each season, or even just in different weather. Or the life-cycle of a single plant. E.g.:
    • The stages of a blackberry:….
    • It could even be the simplest time series of all — a before and an after of some kind, like some delicious and beautiful purple cauliflower before and after being roasted:…
  4. A short story“three fun things I saw on my walk this morning” etc.. E.g.:
    • The trains I saw on a recent walk:…
    • Some of the buildings that caught my eye on a recent visit to the new TU Dublin campus in Grangegorman:…
  5. An abstract theme like “red things” or “things that made me smile today/this week” (I’m very bad at abstraction, so I got no examples — maybe something I should work on in the coming months!)

I hope this inspires you to think in terms of small series of images when you’re out and about shooting, and please @mention the show on Twitter when when share your work (@ltpod) 🙂

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