As I get ready to release the "4am | Japan" project with the printed book, gallery show and print sales, a new long project starts: Gojo
Actually Gojo is just the working name, I am sure several names will surface as I go through the editing process. I am starting the project some clear intentions to help frame the effort:
Shooting for 36+ days, defined with a minimum of 500 shots per day. A full day for me is often close to 1000 shots (two batteries!). Most of these days will be in the summer, so longer days but also super humid and hot in Japan. So a target of 18,000 shots, from this I hope to get 180 really strong images for the project. Half of them should be intimate portraits. Tight edit brings this down to 34-55 images that work together as a visual poem.
Ideally I want half of the time/images to be what shows up as I shoot (contextual/environmental) and the other half intimate portraits of people I meet. Photos that make an emotional connection with the viewer often come from the photographer having an emotional connection with the subject. So for this project it comes down to meeting people, getting close and connected. If the goal is 36+ days of shooting and 50% of the shots are from this people connection, that means every day I need to make a strong relationship as I shoot. Maybe 36+ people/couples that get 100 shots each? These specific shots will shape the narrative of the project in the editing process.
Geographically it will be centered in a 10 block area of Kyoto, near where the Kamo river intersects with Gojo dori street in Kyoto, Japan. I am sure other locations will arise but the starting point will be here. I will have additional days in Tokyo, always good for portrait work.
Shooting in black and white, with post processing using the same feel through out. I will try to use more flash this time as I dig the look and feel. I also bought a 2TB drive to keep the project all on one Lightroom library, and yes I am backing this up.
Using 28mm lenses for the project, camera bodies will be Leica Q, Leica Monochrome and Fuji XT2. Same lens essentially for the entire project. Minimal cropping. More layered shots is a sub goal.
For this project will shoot even more in portrait view with the balance in landscape view. Maybe 40% portrait view as I can see this as a strong set of photos, maybe even a sub project. A book or zine with just vertical shots is easy to layout.
Will shoot aggressively and not worry about editing or story line till closer to the end. As I get into the late fall and winter I will be back in California, good time for building out the project. It is good to have one or two additional trips to fill out the story as required.
There are also a set of cool B/W winter photos I would like to capture, let's see if the timing could work out. I see them in my mind now.
Finally it is important for me to work this every day on my shooting schedule, a real challenge mentally, emotionally and even physically but this commitment and discipline is what gives me the best chance of letting the images appear. The shooting days are blocked out on the calendar now. Definitely more of a marathon vs a sprint. But that works to my grinding style...
Pro tip: This level of intention, thought and commitment works for me to help frame this long term project. Then inside these metrics I am free to work on the content, the art, the feelings and the flow of the final deliverables. A tip of the hat to Matt Black and Jacob Sobol for their mentorship in this "all in" approach. With this framework I can let go of the process and just be in the flow everyday.