Yesterday was the reveal party for a 7 or 8 month project I have been working on called Series 13 Project. In January of this year (2018) on a bit of a whim I put out a model call, I should insert here that I often have BIG ideas that I never act on, but on this whim I acted with a clear image of what I wanted this project to be. I put out a model call for kids ages 6-18 to submit a short story or description of an original character with the thought that I would create a portrait of that character. I wanted 13 kids so we could ultimately put together a calendar. My first ideas were to have 13 portraits then host a contest to see who was going to be on the cover, the like the coveted cover of a magazine. But one of the kids mentioned that they didn’t t want to be the cover because they wanted to have a whole month to themselves. In the end I only had enough kids to do 12 portraits so I decided instead of finding another to participate it made more sense to create a cover of my own for the 13th image, (that is still needing a little fine tuning), and put each of the kids together in one picture for the cover.
I spent most of February and March meeting with the kids/parents planning and shooting their ideas. There was costumes to create, some lengthy hair & make up sessions, excited kids that were going to have to wait months before they saw their ideas come to life. I wanted to push myself to learn new things new techniques, and I started out strong, and I fully expected to be finished these 13 images by the end of May, but April came and I got unexpectedly busier than normal and it lasted until the end of June. Come beginning of summer I had 9 characters photographed and only a hand full of portraits finished. The project was going to take longer than I had hoped…..Life.
So the kids waited, and I worked on the project throughout August and finally saw the end of it all just this last week when I finished the final portrait and hosted the reveal party.
Entering up to the day of the reveal I was proud of the results, this was my best work. The morning the reveal with the studio set up to host 30+ people and the clock ticking down to 3pm, I took a last look at the portraits and felt like I should have done better, could have put more thought in to that concept, could have put some more effort in to that costume, could have been technically better. AHHHHHHH the self doubt of an artist. But, I know that at some point you have to say it’s done! It’s done and it’s the best it could have been at this moment.
The best part for me was watching the kid’s reactions to their portraits. Some of the details of their stories had been forgotten, by me, by them, but genuinely I think they were all really excited and happy to see their characters come to life…well portrait.
What I learned is this; I have heard many times that when you feel uninspired in your work you should do a self directed project. This was the biggest one I had done in my career, and I didn’t even think I WAS uninspired, but revealing those portraits to the kids filled my soul. It reminded me of the importance of enjoying what you do, I work in a profession that is my passion (I am truly grateful for that) but I am not always passionate about it. All to often I get caught up in the business of it all, and the stress of meeting goals and paying bills and marketing and selling and trying to stay current in my knowledge and relevant to the world. Pushing yourself to learn new things, to take BIG steps outside of your comfort zone helps you to grow. Growth is necessary for so much more than business, it’s also necessary to feed your passion….life.
These are the kids images. I am very proud of each of them. I am so grateful to all those that participated and the parents that supported and helped out.