#1010. How to turn vague ideas into fulfilling photographic projects ?

By pascaljappy | News

Jun 01
Merriam-Webster definition: an apparatus with a chamber used to provide controlled environmental conditions especially for the cultivation of microorganisms or the care and protection of premature or sick babies

This post was written in collaboration with Jean-Claude Louis. Thank you Jean-Claude for making this better in every meaningful way 🙂

Skye high

Thanks to the generous help and rich ideas of readers, several new resources are making an appearance on DS to help readers turn their hobby into an opportunity to learn. To learn more about photography, obviously, but also about creativity, about ourselves, about the proper use and selection of gear, about workflows and about project management.

Projects, not gear, are your most powerful tool for creating photographs that will startle even yourself!

Extraordinary photographs pop up regularly on social media, mainly because the law of large numbers make their existence far more likely than the opposite scenario. A bit like Supernovas occasionally light up our night skies then disappear into darkness. Prolific artists, on the other hands, don’t wane after a coup d’eclat. They shine on, through constantly renewed ideas and a gradual improvement of their craft, because of their reliance on projects! We want to help your/our projects move along.


Two new resources …

(1) In response to Kristian’s sending of interesting photographic links in comments, a new page for those has been created : IAQ & Fun links. IAQ stand for Infrequently Asked Questions. If you have one to ask, just use the contact form to ask and I will find the answer within our community, and will publish it on this page. If you have found a really interesting website or video you’d like us all to see, please sent it along via the contact form, and I will add it there too 🙂

There will be no formal organisation of those questions and links. They will simply be added to the top of the list as they come in.

(2) In response to the recent suggestion of building a list of useful resources for learning, Frank sent me a very interesting list of books, some of which I own and cherish. This has provided the impulse for me to create the promised page. Initially, I’ll just add your suggested readings (preferred to videos) and viewings. If the page gets a little ungainly, I’ll structure it into specific areas of learning. This page will be managed bitcoin-style: it is not meant to grow indefinitely, so it will gradually get harder to add stuff on it. It must contain the very best resources for learning, and nothing more. Anything good but anecdotal will go to the fun links page.

Alan has kindly written a post describing his books of choice, so I will send the link to the resource page (with a funny name) when Frank’s post is online, in a few days.


The Incubator

This is exciting news. It follows from an ongoing discussion with Jean-Claude. We both share a fondness for long term projects and for informal and efficient idea stirring.

Because France is pathologically incapable of letting stuff happen organically, startup incubators here are basically centralised farms that guide would-be entrepreneurs through a predefined growth and fundraising process and shelter them from the real-world (ie the highest and most complex administrative system in the known universe). How no-one objects to the idea of standardizing startup growth is beyond me, I obviously don’t get business, but this rant is just to put our idea into perspective : it will be the exact opposite. Messy, spontaneous, and fun.

Not that

How will it work ?

Brilliantly, I hope. But that’s not what you’re asking. Think of it as a discussion group between people with complementary experiences, backgrounds and know-how. That and a bit of software attached.

Here are our goals :

(1) Help anyone (particularly ourselves 😉 ) define and advance photographic projects.
(2) Work on group projects. Hopefully leading to group exhibitions and definitely leading to group publications.
(3) Organise events and meet-ups, where and when ever possible.
(4) Create a very high quality online course, totally free for anyone. We will structure and organise existing content on this website and fill in the gaps as we go.

Sturm und sensor dust

Who can play?

Anyone can ask for help with an idea or a question. Anyone can suggest an idea for a project (personal or group oriented). Anyone doing that becomes responsible for the project and can count on the help of others, in particular members of the incubator.

Each member of the incubator is expected to contribute ideas and engage in robust debates, as well as help others with their questions. Each must help projects move forward, and can submit their own ideas for projects (which they will then be responsible for).

We’ll have pages for individual projects on DearSusan and a shared access to Basecamp for the drafts, ideas, notes … Spontaneous meetups can happen in real life for those lucky enough to live close by, or via zoom, Google meet, WhatsApp, or any other method you prefer.

Step by step


We will have gallery pages for projects and this has given me the impetus to finally release Phr. But I particularly hope we can organise physical exhibitions as well.

We will build a library of courses (building on the exisiting one), free to access, addressing all aspects of photography – technical, practical, creative, artistic, alternative.

That’s it, we want to keep it informal, efficient and fast moving. You are all welcome to contribute to any of the three resources. Who’s in?


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  • Dallas says:

    Pascal, great post, images and idea, Im in.

  • JohnW says:

    Meet-ups? discussions? projects? resources? FREE PHOTOGRAPHIC FOOD????

    Where do I sign?

  • jean pierre (pete) guaron says:

    How/to whom do we send details of books that might be of interest to other members of the group? Listing them here, for inclusion in another part of DS doesn’t seem appropriate. Email details to you, Pascal? – or to Paul?

    Oh — and this is corny, I know – but the answer to your first question is “Imagery”. (It’s a pun – english humour – LOL) I did something vaguely similar to you a while back, with a photo of a motor bike outside the shop next door. Yours is more aesthetic, though.

  • Nancee Rostad says:

    As you know, I’m in and very interested – let the fun begin!

  • philberphoto says:

    What you were hoping not to read. I’m in.

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