Resolution time: Goals for 2017

Moving forward
Moving forward. Near Briggsdale, Colo., Nov. 2016. (Daniel J. Schneider)

It’s that time of year and everyone is making their resolutions for the new year. I’m not really one to resolve much, exactly, but I have goals in mind.

Last year it was my goal to produce a darkroom print, and I did finally accomplish that after Thanksgiving. It took me nearly all year, but I did it.

This year I’ve actually seen a dearth of resolutions from the film-believer community on Twitter, from whence comes most of my conversation and interaction with other photographers. I have, however, seen a few people discussing goals.

Projects seem to be in vogue again this year, though. 365 projects and 52-week challenges, etc. They were popular in 2016, too. Emily Gallagher laid out some options and described her intentions today and got me thinking.

Dustin Veitch, too, has his goals, though they are blog-related. I look forward to him fulfilling it, though. His simple, straightforward take on developing color negative film at home has the gears turning in my brain — and it’s still Jan. 1!

Steve Brokaw’s goals are all about different cameras, since he’s got so many (maybe more than me, at this point). I’m planning on spending a lot more time with a lot fewer cameras this year, myself.

So there are a lot of options. And I’ve tried and failed at several of these before. I’m too stuck in my ways, I think, and neither my finances nor my schedule are consistent and predictable enough to really support the success of any kind of daily or weekly project.

So for 2017, I’ve decided to make a couple goals that might seem a little simple, but which I think will challenge me to keep going without the potential to overwhelm. And which will let me work at the pace I’m used to.

  1. Produce at least 30 new photographs in my continuing work on the Eastern Plains of Colorado (number referring to final selected images, not just pumping three rolls of film through the Pentax 6×7)
  2. Successfully make 10 prints which I would be comfortable selling or giving away as representations of my work (my standards for myself are high, but not impossible — I can do this)
  3. Print, mount and frame enough images to hang in a bookstore, coffee shop or similar, alone or in a joint presentation with another artist (bigger than what I’ve done so far, I think)

That’s it. Maybe that sounds like a lot to some of you, and not much to others. I debated asking myself to make 50 new images, and 15, and on and on. I settled on 30 because that’s about the number I made in 2015 with which I was really happy.

The prints for hanging is what really scares me. Not the putting myself out there — disingenuous or not, the public’s response to my work has generally been good. In fact, I don’t trust it, but I’m learning to accept it. The expense of adequately framing the half-dozen or more images I think it will take to complete that task adequately could be a very expensive endeavor, though.

I’ll check back later in the year and update my readers how these things are going.

Happy New Year to all my readers, and to everyone who helps keep film manufacturers in business so I can keep doing what I love!

  • Joseph C Cunningham

    I also set out some goals for 2017. Explore Gold leaf printing, do more wet plate collodion shooting, shoot more large format and blog more about my actual experiences.

    • Maybe I should add “learn what gold leaf printing is” to my list! I do plan to use my large format camera more, but that was already part of my decision to focus more and making pictures and less on playing with cameras. Wet plate I’ve been holding off on for now, but someday perhaps. An admirable list! I oook forward to reading about your progress on your blog! ;-)

      • Joseph C Cunningham

        It is expensive. Ha ha. I have to learn how to do it first and will be using copper and silver leaf first.

        https://youtu.be/vsrmHS3R-oM

        • Oh, that’s kinda cool. I bet silver looks really cool (not a big fan of gold, personally). I’ve got a ways to go before I try anything like that. For me, I’m looking at trying matte paper, and maybe even fiber paper! ;-)