140522 Series (2/2) - matthew piers robertson • photography writing creative toronto

We're told to study the masters. But Edvard Munch did not just paint "The Scream" – he painted four different variations of it, and those were created as part of a much larger project. The enduring image of mouse-pad fame is just a small part of his exploration of the great themes of life. Undeniably one of his greatest hits, and one of the most famous paintings in the world, its creation wasn't some glorious single and isolated event.

There's a huge value to creating bodies of work instead of just looking for single photos.

We can, and should, still go for our walks in the city and drives through the countryside, but be thinking about operas and symphonies instead of greatest hits compilations. Don't be satisfied with that one great shot of a woman who has just gone shopping, or of a whatever-breasted somethinghatch on a stick. Do a series. Five photos of people carrying shopping bags, each expressing something different, to put on that website. Capture the courtship, nesting, and fledgling somethinghatches over a season, and create a fine-art folio or write an article to go with it. Work with intensity and explore a single subject with depth and variety; revisit a theme or a place as it changes over time.

Work in projects, develop ideas, explore stories. Slow down and pre-think beyond the next button-push. Be interested in something and do something interesting. The amazing thing is that good images, and maybe even great ones, will still happen – perhaps even more easily now that they aren't the only goal.

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