Two weeks ago to the day I pulled my camera out of the bottom of my closet. This may not sound odd, but never in my life had I packed my camera away so inaccessibly as I did when I moved to California. I’m not sure why, but I had packed up shop and put it away. When I pulled out my camera on that recent Saturday, I was headed to a golf fundraiser for the Lukemia & Lymphoma Society… photos coming soon. I didn’t intend to photograph at the event, just wanted my camera nearby… just in case. Little did I know the photographer would be late and I would be thrown in to snap a couple shots of the opening speech.
I forgot how good it felt to have my camera in my hand. It’s easy to have it in my hand. That afternoon I headed down to the beach with a good friend of mine, and convinced her to be my model. I had to know if I had really missed it as bad as I anticipated. Turns out, I had. The afternoon resulted in this image.
I was hooked, but unsure of what direction to go. I wanted to challenge myself. I hadn’t done a project since college and my creativity was starving. A tiny voice in my head came up with a challenge: 14 in 14. The idea was to shoot 14 different people in 14 days and I was already convincing myself to make it easier.
The following day I had lunch with my cousin. The last time we saw each other I was 9. Over a delicious sushi lunch (my favorite) I put my idea out there… with a saving clause of wanting to change the project (already) to 14 in 28. Little did I know I would be challenged back to 14. Of course it wasn’t a challenge anymore if I extended it to 28 days. I hesitated to accept my own challenge and convinced him to help me try out an idea I had seen over at Photojojo. It works, by the way. Try it out!!
I went home that afternoon committed in my head to take my own challenge. I verbalized it to all the world that very afternoon and started on the project. 14 in 14 became a challenge for both myself and my subjects.
The subjects: 14 different people who were asked to bring an item with them to their shoot. It was to be something that defined them, showed what they were passionate about, illustrated what makes them tick. Open to interpretation, I had items from all realms of imagination. By asking subjects to bring an item, it gave them a talking point, made them feel less scrutinized, and allowed for genuine expression as they talked about the item that they love.
The setting: Simple, without focus on the background. Solid. Plain. California and Colorado.
The lens: For my own challenge, I had to use my 10-20mm wide angle lens. A lens I rarely use on people because of the distortion that I LOVE but that others often find ‘unrealistic’ in images. Using this lens causes me to be really REALLY close to my subjects – something that often makes all involved uncomfortable.
The orientation: Horizontal. Every photographer has a preference on portrait of landscape orientation. Mine is portrait. It takes me actually thinking about it to be able to take a horizontal photograph. Many photos from the project are vertical, but I restricted myself from using them in these final images. Shooting horizontally with barely a background challenged me to think about the photographic composition. No cropping. I do not allow myself to crop, ever since my college professor explained that cropping for us meant moving closer to or farther from our subject. Hence my love for what I like to call a fixed lens.
14 in 14: I began the project on April 23, 2012 and finished it on May 3, 2012. It took me 11 days to shoot and edit all photographs. I’m thrilled with the outcome and wholeheartedly thank each participant for donating 10-20 minutes of time, a piece of their own personal history, a smile and a laugh.
…and what you’ve all been waiting for…
14 in 14
Thank you all for being here with me and supporting this project. Without you, this wouldn’t be possible.
The images are available here for further viewing.