Streettogs Gallery Talk: The importance of producing a body of work

Eric’s Note: Streettogs Gallery is an on-going feature and intiative by Manila-based street photographer A.G. De Mesa. Click here for more info.

AG: This week, let me share to you some thoughts on why having a body of work is important while showing a great work from Kip Praslowicz.

After years of studying, looking, and analyzing photographs I have to realize one thing: The body of work is the most important thing a photographer should have. However, the journey of making a body of work is not that easy. It is so consuming that at times, photographers sacrifice their personal lives in pursuit of the great work. More often than not, it results with a lot of emotional and mental stresses.  With those reasons and a lot more, why then do we need to pursue a body of work?

For one, the means to create a body of work is easier now. Crowd sourcing sites like emphas.is and kickstarter rewards creativity and intent. You could start a visual diary and religiously update and see how it forms like how Patrick Tsai did it for his Talking Barnacles  or Maxwell Anderson’s Absolute Present showcase your work to a global audience. For those who want to self publish, Mag-cloud and Blurb can be easily tapped for the service if you don’t have the time to be hands on. There are also a lot means to get your work out there and be noticed. No matter what genre you are shooting into, there is sure to be a platform like this entire blog and  Radiate Magazine for street photography, and countless others like Self Publish, Be Happy for self published photo books, Blood of the Young for Zine addicts, and Fotoevidence for aspiring documentary photographers out there.


The stress has also gotten less because there are always people willing to help and share their thoughts. There are now means to contact people through the help of  social media. You could ask and get feedback about what you are doing. You could look for individuals also working hard on their own body of work that you could share the toil and thoughts together. Form a collective, join a group, attend classes or workshops. Many options are available out there. A great community that can be found online and even better if it is offline. The help of people can really guide you into what you want to do.

Besides the conveniences we are so lucky to have, I guess the most important reason to produce a body of work is because it is something you can call your own . A symbol of your existence. The mark that you will leave here in this world. The importance doesn’t really lie in how successful a body of work becomes but rather how it becomes an evidence of the artist’s vision.

Photography is not like Literature where the author is oftentimes regarded as “dead”. In photography, I’m not familiar with anyone analyzing a photograph or a body of work without discounting the thought that occurred in the brain of the photographer the moment he trips the shutter. The photographer is never separated from his work and that work is tied to your name.

But I’d like to raise this question: is it worth it?

The answer lies in you, the image maker. Whether your project reaches Alec Soth levels of fame or just something you have and call your own ala Vivian Maier, the measure lies on you. Now if you don’t think your work is not good enough, here comes the beautiful part: You could always put a new roll of film or load in a new storage card, get your good shoes ready, and just go at it again and again because the world never runs out of things that can be photographed. It is up to you to take those photographs and make them your own.

All photos used in this article are from Kip Praslowicz‘s series, Zenith City Wanderings and complies with his image use policy. You can follow his work and purchase some prints here.

He’s not fond of artist statements so feel free to formulate your own thoughts on his images.

To me, this work shows a quirky and colorful side of a city that I have no idea how it looks like. It makes me want to go to Duluth, MN and spot those quirks Kip has shown us.  Kip really has a good eye and is an interesting character based on his other works. He also has entertaining and worthwhile thoughts he broadcasts over his twitter (I highly recommend following him!).

He is currently working for something bigger with an ongoing project that you could participate in tentatively called Extraordinary moments of mundane and happenstance in the Twin Ports and points beyond which will be exhibited sometime around 2013.

I hope I convinced you guys to consider gunning for a body of work!

Next time, I will feature my own work at the behest of Eric insisting that I suck it up and show it. Also, it will be very hypocritical of me that I write about projects and yet only a few people have seen mine :)

So please, watch out for it next time but still keep sending in your works and click here for more information on how to get featured in the #streettogs Gallery. Thank you.– A.G.

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