Process 003 ☼ Starting A New Project During Lockdown
How limitations can spark creativity.
Today we’re going to talk about starting a creative project and how limitations can unlock our creativity. As such, you’ll see a new project I have been working on in Vancouver during this lockdown.
Also, Stephan from BuyMoreFilm and I have teamed up to give away a great camera and some film, only for Process subscribers.
Before we get started, some thank you’s are in order:
To those of you shared the last issue with friends who needed a nudge to make their own portfolio.
To those who wrote back thoughtful answers to the question - ‘Why is photography important to you?’ The three first replies received a one-on-one portfolio review with me. You can watch a video of the first one using the link at the end of this note.
To those of you who read the last note, nodded, and then opened this one this week.
Thanks for being here.
How Quarantine Limitations Inspired A New Project
My work focuses on photos of people and the places they live or work in. You saw this in my new portfolio. Environmental portraits, street portraits, things like that.
Right now I’m in a quiet neighborhood of Vancouver for the lock down. This city is very new to me. Thankfully - I can still safely explore the streets with a camera.
The difference is that where I usually meet and photograph strangers all over the city, I am now contained to one small neighborhood without any humans outside of the occasional dog walker or runner.
I started walking and shooting. Two or three hours a day, usually with the sun high in the sky casting harsh light, around 3pm. Forced to slow down and narrow my focus - I paid attention to the small special moments right around me. The things I usually pass by without taking a closer look.
I noticed small wonders like drops of water on a leaf after it rained, or the way the sun and a backyard basketball hoop casted a cinematic shadow.
Suddenly my world - which had initially felt so small - revealed that it was in itself a massive universe. The new limitations had adjusted my perspective. I kept shooting and shooting, and discovered a new way of noticing.
Every night, I share my favorite shots from the day to my Instagram Story. It has become a nice habit, even on days when I feel less inspired.
A great surprise has been watching other photographers post photos from their own “noticing walks” and tagging me. Stories ranging from Austria to Australia, and from Mexico to Memphis. We might just have created a photo walk club for the socially distant age?
At the time of this writing I have walked every day for the past 45 days. According to my phone I’m approaching 400,000 steps taken during 90 hours of walking. My harddrive tells me I have shot around 9,000 pictures and I’ve edited about 10% of those.
If someone would have asked me to start a new project and put numbers on the board like that I would have felt too overwhelmed to start. It’s a good reminder to not overthink things and just act. Put one foot in front of the other, every day, and it will add up in the end.
I’m calling this project “Notice”. It creates a daily work routine for me during this tumultuous period. This routine calms me in a not-so-calm world.
I plan to continue to build this body of work until quarantine is over. Maybe longer, we’ll see. I might work on prints or a zine for Notice as well. Let me know if you’d be interested in that.
You can click here or on the pictures below to see a small selection of my favorite shots from Notice so far.
My good friend Stephan of BuyMoreFilm and I have teamed up to give away a great 35mm camera and a few mystery rolls of black and white film. The tiny but mighty Minox 35GT will go to a randomly selected person that hits reply and tells us what they’d like to document with this camera. Three mystery black and white rolls will go to a second randomly selected person. This giveaway is for Process subscribers only so make sure to sign up if you haven’t already.
Make sure to check out BuyMoreFilm’s wonderful online store for great deals on analog cameras and expired film. Follow him on Instagram at @buymorefilm. I am a long time customer myself - countless refrigerator shelves have been filled by film that I bought from Stephan. He is one of the best in the business. Thank you Stephan!
Last issue included a portfolio review giveaway for Process readers. I recorded the first one through Zoom and I’d like to share the raw footage here with you by way of this unlisted Youtube link for Process readers only. It’s a little over an hour long and reviews the work of Portland based photographer and Process reader Wesley LaPointe. Spoiler review, it’s great.
And finally, a shout out to Booooooom and Street Dreams, two of my favorite publications, who featured some of the work from my new portfolio. Check them out - they both highlight a lot of work I love and it’s an honor to be included.
Waving from a rainy Vancouver,
PS. I’ve been in part inspired by my friend Craig Mod’s Ridgeline mailing list, which happens to be about walking, and li in Japan, with a camera. It’s one of my favorite reads and I strongly recommend you check it out.
Process readers on why photography is important to them:
“To be awake and to be in the here and now and have a document of that exact moment, which will live on forever. It’s also a very calming craft which connects you with so many people in and outside the medium.” — Nils Heck (Germany)
“Photography is always showing me new ways to look at the world. It shows me how I’m interpreting the things around me and how others interpret their world around them.” — Ishan Benegal (Bombay, India)
“For me, photography feels like breathing. My limbs are lighter, my brain slows down - and trust me it never slows down. I can finally stop thinking so hard and just feel the moment that I’m in, everything else falls away.” — Rachel Williams (Sonoma, CA)
If you haven’t written me yet with your answer and feel the urge, please do. It’s a great way to get to know each other, and I like hearing from you. Just hit reply.
Process is a bi-weekly letter from Wesley Verhoeve.
Issue 004 will arrive in your inbox in two weeks. In the mean time, follow along at @Wesley
As always, I appreciate you sharing this newsletter with others.