Most of my photographs are single shots, independent of any other.
However, over time, a few projects have evolved, that consist of a collection of photographs.
I haven’t set out to create these themed collections – or series – of shots, they’ve come about mostly by me realising I’m using a particular tag in Flickr repeatedly, then using it further more consciously in the future.
Once beyond this realisation, it does change slightly how I photograph, in that if I see a potential photograph that might fit an existing, ongoing project or theme, I might be more inclined to make more effort in capturing it.
So the collection builds more quickly than it might do if I wasn’t aware of it.
A useful analogy of this for me is music.
There are certain tracks that exist beautifully in isolation.
You don’t need to know of or hear any other tracks within that artist’s body of work to appreciate that single track.
Of course if this is the first piece of music of theirs you’ve heard, and you really enjoy it, you’re likely to then want to explore more.
But the pleasure of that first track can still exist without any other music.
Then there are albums.
Even though I’m a sucker for a killer pop song, for me, most of my favourite listening experiences involve immersing myself in a collected body of work, tracks written around the same time and arranged in a certain order by the artist, to increase their impact, compared with hearing any one of the tracks on its own.
As music fans, we can also curate our own collections, outside of or in addition to each individual music artist’s choices.
It’s easier than ever to create playlists and mixtapes, music that we find more pleasurable grouped together than scattered separately.
As photography lovers, we can do the same, and the most obvious version of this for me is my Flickr favourites.
Here I can create an ongoing collection of photographs by others I love enough to want to bookmark them to view again.
My favourites is a simple list, collected in the order I’ve stumbled across each image.
I know it’s possible to have more specific and focused collections in Flickr, and other apps and sites, I just don’t really use them.
Back to my own photographs, whilst I have collections (by a common tag, like “those places in the woods” or “gravestone”, or by album, eg all photos taken with one particular camera), I don’t really do much with these collections, or have any plans to.
It’s more a way to gently acknowledge the patterns and commonality in some of my photography, rather than it being an unrelated and almost arbitrarily snapped set of images.
A way to make some kind of sense of how and why I photograph, perhaps, which can then inform future photographs.
How about you? Do you have series of photographs within your body of work, or is it made up of single, unconnected images?
Please let us know in the comments below (and don’t forget to tick the “Notify me of new comments via email” box to follow the conversation).
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