Photo Series-a Letter to Someone Special
"A type of letter (or informal composition) that usually concerns personal matters (rather than professional concerns) and is sent from one individual to another.
Personal letters (alongside diaries and autobiographies) have been popular forms of personal communication since the 18th century. But as mentioned below (in Examples and Observations), various innovations over the past several decades have contributed to a decline in the practice of personal letter-writing." http://grammar.about.com/
Here is a project which many will label as a very special one. It is rather simple in its scope yet it can become a habit, a lifelong project and it can also get you closer to someone like your kids for example or someone that is in one way unique and special to you as a person first and as a photographer second.
The project itself has two basic steps. The first step is to choose someone who has some significance in your life.
You write a letter to that person detailing how you feel, what makes them special to you, what things about that person are the things you like or find appealing and so forth.
You follow the letter writing by capturing a specific number of pictures of the person. Preferably the pictures should in some way showcase those qualities that you find appealing about the individual and which in turn make that person special to you.
Although the project itself does not feature a timeline or set time frames it works better if it is done once per month, once per week, twice per month; in other words at specific timely intervals.
The staring point can be a picture of you writing the letter, followed by you giving the person the letter, the recipient reading the letter and what happens after.
These pictures should then be included in a set of the person doing things that stand for the qualities you find admirable about them.
An off shot of the project is that as others get involved whether or not they are also into photography, they can start writing letters to others.
The circle of writers can basically grow at an uninhibited pace so long as others continue it.
Not only does it presents a photo opportunity for you but it has a side effect of bringing people together.
Like the saying goes "it is easier to attract a fly with honey than with vinegar".
Telling others how special they are to you or letting them know that they have qualities that you find attractive is a way of showing admiration and this in return often encourages the recipients of the letters to do the same to you or for others.
This is kind of creating a reciprocity event with good side effects the majority of the time.
A good starting point is to share your intentions with whomever will be the recipient of your correspondence.
Although there is no set pattern or mandate for how to write your letters, you should make it a special occasion.
Take special paper and a special pen or other writing utensil and sit down once per month or according to your desired schedule and calmly write the letter.
Calligraphy sets are great. Not only do they feature a special bond paper made for writing, they have calligraphy pens which can often be works of art and quite often very elegant.
The mechanics of using a calligraphy set like dipping the fountain pen in the ink, demand that this be done in a comfortable and slow deliberate, determined pace.
Even better if you add a wax seal and make it that much more special and in a way reviving a seemingly disappearing art form.
Computers are great but writing a letter in this fashion seems impersonal, better to make everything about the project as personal as you can.
Hand delivering the letter is better than to send it through the mail or worse via email.
This can become a special occasion which is repeated on a pre set schedule.
Make your photos as personal as the letter writing. Try to capture images that are not posed or planned. Catch people when they are not looking at you and thus appear in a more natural state of being.
This is more of a personal project than a commercial one and you can start a personal album detailing the activities along with the letter as well as the pictures.
A finished album makes a great personalized one of a kind gift for that someone special. However this does not mean that you have to do this purely from a personal viewpoint.
You can also use it for quite a few book projects but keep in mind that you risk sharing your thought with the rest of the world.
Both the letter writer/photographer and the recipient should agree if your intentions include some sort of commercial application.
A simple variation may be to only use the resulting images and not the details of the written materials.
This is done for fun and perhaps to bring you closer to someone. Commercializing it is viable but should not be the main driving force behind its inception.
© 2014 Luis E Gonzalez
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