I'm taking four classes and three of them will have a final project. I like to start thinking about a final project early in the semester so I can start developing some loose ideas that inform or are informed by the sentiment in each class. I've had this conversation with a few others and my goal is to not complete a semester's worth of work, then eventually a couple of years worth of work and end up with a collection of assignments that were only good to meet an academic objective. That would be a shame, because it is likely that none of that work would be usable for much of anything. I've read guidance from professionals to BFA graduates to get rid of their school portfolio. What a shame.
I have three final projects, one each for a history class, lighting class and travel class. I'd like to do each one as a real personal project, because that is what I am interested in - personal work. If I'm able, then I'll have three mini personal projects complete, or more likely in progress by the end of semester which is more rewarding.
The presentation of the final project varies and one option that is very appealing to me is a printed book, specifically for the travel class. Taking the book making class last semester tainted me and I like to think about photographs in terms of series and sequence.
Books, however, take a long time to create. The entire process is better suited for a several years long project, something that is not rushed, to allow for an organic shaping of the work. I'm still working on the basic ideas for each of the projects, and I am getting close to being able to start shooting, but it is a really tight timeline and not realistic. Part of the challenge is the time it takes to actually print the book. I intend to continue to use Milk, because I really like their quality, but Milk books are hand made in Hong Kong, so it takes about a month to get the book to my doorstep once I finish building it on their website and commit to print.
So that backs my "press print" date back at least a month before the actual project is due, meaning the first week of November. It's the last week of September so that gives me 6 weeks to shoot, print, edit and organize. That is way too much to do. If I were not considering this project as a final for a class, it could easily take me a year to shoot it, then a few months to edit.
That doesn't mean that I am not going to do a book for that project, it just means that for the class, I'll present prints, and continue the work on my own. I can use the class as a checkpoint for an advanced concept for the work, which can be very helpful.
The final in the travel class is to present photographs much like the first assignment for the class, which was to visit Santa Fe Depot and shoot and submit 15 image types from a laundry list. This isn't the way I think when it comes to image making, I prefer to get somewhere and see it, think about it, and be sensitive to what is around me and start investigating it with a camera. Which is how I will approach the final - not worry about the laundry list and simply continue to refine my personal approach to shooting and see what the work shows me. Doing this for 8 weeks will help me develop the project conceptually and visually, I can try different ideas without penalty. It could be a good start.
It's good for me to write about these ideas as the act of writing helps me to understand my own thought process and develop clearer paths to execution.