above from Siberian Supermodels by Anastasia Taylor-Lind
Today on Dos and Don'ts, Anastasia Taylor-Lind of VII and National Geographic gives her Dos and Don'ts of starting a personal project.
Anastasia is just about to start a road trip to photograph the population shrinkage in Europe. The project is called Negative Zero. She's got the van and she's about to go. Follow her progress here.
above from the National Womb
1. Have a stable of friends and colleagues that you can run project ideas by in the very early research stages. It is always easier to hear that your idea is shit from someone you like. If it's a good idea these people can give you enough encouragement, motivation and self-belief to plough on and develop the idea. Mine are (among others) Giulio Di Sturco (photog) Camilla Neprous (Stunt rider) Guy Martin (photog and old uni friend) Nick Papadopoulos (acting CEO of VII) and Eleonore Lind (Psychotherapist, mediator and my mum).
2. Brain storm ideas and research projects using hand-drawn multi-coloured spider diagrams on huge pieces of paper stuck to your apartment wall (see attached picture) Trust me.. this works.
4. Trust yourself.
1. Be motivated by money and don't be afraid if being broke. It's not that bad and once you have experienced it you won't be afraid to invest every last penny and piece of time into personal work. Sometimes we have to take financial risks in order to create our own work. It's always a balance between feeding your bank balance and feeding your soul, for everyone. If you pick a story because you think it will sell editorially, it rarely will. Follow your heart and do what you love and the money will follow.
2. Relinquish editorial control to anyone else during production (a magazine, commissioning festival or award that funded the project). I think the best stories are the ones where photographers just go and see what they can see, with as few preconceived ideas as possible.
3. Be afraid to fail :-)