war on seriousness
What is/was your personal project and what inspired you to start it?
I’m a fairly cheeky girl – on good days. But as everybody else, I also have bad days, moments when I see life through dark glasses, and on those days I tend to take everything a little bit too seriously. And I hate myself when it happens. A few years ago during one of those days, I stumbled upon a picture of my boys acting silly, and I instantly felt the magic: my body relaxed, the frown on my face disappeared, the weight on my chest suddenly went away… it reminded me how the simple fact of watching joy and laughter captured on a photograph had the power to brush away the gloom. I started to take random notes of a few ideas I had for feel-good pictures. I took the first one, and posted it on my blog with an article explaing how I had been guilty of seriousness lately, and how I needed a cure. A cure in pictures.
One week later, I posted another silly image, explaining that it was not a battle you could win in one single fight.
My war on seriousness had started!
Two years later, I’m still pursuing my quest, and sharing with my readers the pictures that bring a huge smile on my face even on the gloomiest of days, hoping that they will help them fight seriousness in their life, too.
Are there any challenges or ruts you faced during your project and how did you overcome them and keep a creative eye?
At the beginning, I decided that it would be a weekly project, to be run every Wednesday. But quickly, it started to ruin the fun. I was feeling pressured to post something even if I was totally uninspired. And you cannot truly have fun if you “have to”. Then I suddenly realized that a strict assignment was just much too serious for a war on seriousness!! So I changed the rule. The war on seriousness would have no schedule. It would come by surprise, whenever I felt like it. And I quickly started to enjoy it again!
My secret to make it last is to keep it as free and enjoyable as possible. I have very few constraints on this project. I can use either personal images or client work. The images that qualify for the project can be funny, surprising, silly, crazy… or just feature people having genuine fun, or a contagious smile, or an irresistible belly laugh… as long as I can feel a surge of joy when I look at it, it’s a keeper!
What have you learned through your process with your personal project?
This project started as a photography project, but quickly became a writing challenge, too. Sometimes I post an image with very few words, because there is really nothing to add. But most of the time, I share my thoughts with the image too. Telling why this image kicked seriousness out of my life that week, or giving a fun assignment to my readers, inspired by the image I’m posting… When I can combine my love for photography with my love for writing, I’m in heaven, and this project allowed me to do just that.
Another thing that I learned is that this personal project became a blessing for my business too. It really helped me set a tone to my website, and I started to attract the right clients, the ones who were truly interested in my style of photography and were ready to follow my vision.
Is there anything additional about your project that readers may find interesting?
More recently I have started a monthly self-portrait project with my boys. Instead of making it another personal project on top of the first, which might have become a burden, I have tried to include it in the war on seriousness project. My boys and I are often doing silly things together as part of our daily routine, so this is what I’m trying to capture with our selfies. I love preparing this with my boys. We brainstorm ideas at the dinner table, prepare the set together whenever we feel like it, and my boys love this project because they “have the power” (they hold the remote)! The fact that the shooting time in itself is as much a treasured memory as the resulting photos is my best reward.
Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your beautiful and inspiring project with us!
Lisa Tichané, France
CMU Instructor | CM Mentor
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Maybe it’s because she’s “a bit silly” or maybe it has to do with her being “a child at heart” but Lisa has an incredible talent for photographing babies and children in her fun, clean and playful style with her Canon 5d mark III, 35L, 50 f/1.4, 24-70L and 135L. She is the instructor of CMU’s Shooting 204: Capturing Joy and the author of Photographing Toddlers | a recipe for success. Marseille, France is the place she calls home along with her boys where they love to play, jump, run, make silly faces contests and wild pillow fights. She does enjoy some quiet once in a while where she can browse the web with her coffee and chocolate. Laughter is a must have, though, as she states, “a day without a good laugh is definitely a lost one for me.”