Bring Your Personal Photo Project to Life!
by Brenda K. Hipsher – January 22nd, 2014
A personal photo project can keep your dreams and passions alive. “What artist isn’t always thinking about – and sharpening her ideas for – her next personal project?” says Coloratti Sally Wiener Grotta. Her popular American Hands project has been her passion and personal photo project for many years. And now she is willing to share her expertise with you in a very special webinar on Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at 1pm EST.
Register now for this wonderful special webinar called Bringing your Personal Project to Life with special guest Sally Wiener Grotta. Learn how you can bring your personal project to life and sustain it over time.
We asked Sally to talk to us about her projects. Learn more about this accomplished photographer, artist, and author Sally Wiener Grotta.
X-Rite Photo Blog: How long did you think about the American Hands project before you shot the first image?
Sally Wiener Grotta: Sometime about six years ago, I had recently ended my latest project: The Wordsmiths, in which I created interpretive portraits of people behind the scenes in publishing. And I knew that I needed another focus. I have always been interested in what makes our species uniquely human. Is it because we have opposable thumbs, or the ability to use that trait combined with imagination, that built civilization? Suddenly, something clicked in my mind. Our ability to build is a direct result of using our hands, minds and hearts in concert. What I wanted to do was document how, before machines took over, we employed our manual skills and ingenuity in diverse ways to feed, house, clothe and protect ourselves. Thus was born my American Hands project for which I am capturing and sharing the stories of those artisans who are keeping the old trades alive, such as a blacksmith, glassblower, bookbinder, rug maker, spinner, weaver, etc.
XB: What techniques would you say advance getting a project from the idea stage to an outline on paper? Which is more important, planning the project vs. doing the project?
SWG: Planning and perseverance are vital handmaidens in getting a project underway. The most important aspect was to understand that American Hands as a project would need several different pillars to keep it going:
- Solid photography
- Great subjects
- Good storytelling
- Audiences for the pictures and stories
And that I would have to keep the excitement alive not just for myself but for the public and funders, through good communications and publicity. In our upcoming webinar, I’ll cover the highlights of each of those aspects of the project and how I approach the challenges of each.
XR: What do you do to keep your passion for a project alive over the long term?
SWG: Keeping my passion alive is never a problem for me, as long as I’m working. I thrive on the creative inspiration of meeting, getting to know, interviewing and photographing talented, interesting people. What’s more, I thoroughly enjoy sharing these great experiences with my audiences. Of course, it’s very validating and energizing to continue to receive grants in support of American Hands, as well as the uniformly enthusiastic responses and accolades I’ve received from the public and press. The trick for me is to keep working.
XR: How did you come to “believe” in the project?
SWG: For me, the key to developing a successful project is to be sure it’s built on a narrative that is deeply meaningful, and that it captures and conveys something that is core to the human condition.
I believed in American Hands from the very beginning. Deep within me, the idea took seed and wouldn’t let go. Perhaps, it has something to do with the fact that I’m a writer as well as a photographer, and I’m innately attuned to what it takes to build an intriguing storyline. Happily, everyone to whom I mentioned it expressed great interest and enthusiasm, and my exhibits and lectures have proven to resonate with the general public.
XR: What part does self confidence play in this process?
SWG: I would never call myself confident, at least not as an artist. If anything, uncertainty and creative tension are what drive me, the need to continue to learn and achieve. But then, isn’t that the essence of good art, to push beyond our comfort zone, to create something new?
On the other hand, I am confident in my solid foundation of photographic skills, imaging and printing expertise, my ability to weave a good story and business acumen – plus my sense of adventure that keeps me to moving forward regardless of what the day brings.
XR: What else to you have going on in addition to American Hands?
SWG: The nature of a personal project such as American Hands is that it has to fit into an overall career plan. So, yes, of course, I have things going on beyond my photography. In addition to my usual lectures, workshops, articles and reviews, my first novel “Jo Joe” was recently published, and my next novel “The Winter Boy” will be published later this year. As my schedule allows, I’m also opening up my studio for occasional master classes that I teach on photography, lighting, imaging, etc. (CLICK HERE for more information on Master Classes with Sally) I make various personal appearances around the country, giving lectures and workshops. What’s more, my husband Daniel Grotta and I are conducting regular Google Hangouts for our Arts & Letters Show and Team Grotta Tech Talk.
We want to thank oloratti Sally Wiener Grotta for taking the time to talk with us and for sharing with us her expertise for getting a personal photo project out of one’s head and into the world. Find out how in the special webinar called Bringing your Personal Project to Life.
Sally Wiener Grotta uses color management solutions from X-Rite. Learn how you can stop guessing and start knowing with X-Rite color management solutions from X-Rite at www.xritephoto.com.
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