Project Development: the City at Night

This is the first of what I hope will be many posts which start my project development.

For my first project I have chosen the City at Night. This will be specifically my home town of Oxford, not just any city. I doubt this will be my final project, but I need to gain experience of forming up a project and of organising, researching and progressing one before I embark on anything more ambitious and final.

To begin with, I am going to divide things into various headings or categories.

Key Metrics
I think it is important to have a some “big picture values” before getting caught up in the details.

Target Market: Oxford residents, those who know Oxford, those interested in the urban experience and in photographic projects of this kind, those who visit photography bookshops online or offline.

Delivery Medium: A book of approximately 75-100 images.

Schedule: As an experimental project, allow 12 weeks. As a major project, allow 1-2 years.

Budget: Obtain quotations for various print-runs of a book, probably from Blurb. Add cost of design and jacket design, sundry origination costs, project development costs such as travel, books, tickets, meals and general expenses. Add costs of C-type test prints and other photography-related items. Add copyright permissions fees if using material like poetry. Add sales/distribution costs and a marketing budget.

Outcomes: Is this a viable project? Outcomes would need to satisfy my MA requirements but also some criteria for a successful project anyway. Those would include establishing whether there is enough of a market for a book like this, the per-copy cost such a market would bear, the size and quality of book the market would bear, sales channels and whether in the light of this the overall project cost is sustainable.

Beyond this, I am forming up categories under which I intend to cover – among other things – photographic history and research, cultural history and research, narrative approach and the question of texts and captions, social commentary, ethical considerations, treatment of place, treatment of and approach to people, photographic techniques which may be employed, stylistic questions such as colour or monochrome, the definition and limits of the subject itself (night and city), project title and subtitle, and emergent properties.

By emergent properties I mean that which emerges as the result of undertaking the project but which might not necessarily be foreseeable. These could be new themes or sub-themes, new directions, new people I meet as potential subjects, unexpected messages from my subconscious which images turn out to embody, technical issues and just about anything else. I consider these to be very, very important and I must make a careful effort to be as aware of them as I can. In some ways, they are the whole point of the project.

In the meantime, I posted a couple of contact sheets of my practice to date on the Week 3 discussion forum:

The City at Night
Mark Crean (07 October 2019): the City at Night
The City at Night
Mark Crean (07 October 2019): the City at Night