Personal Photography Project of Danika Dickson
What is/was your personal project and what inspired you to start it?
I’ve been calling my project Scriptural Macro, although it’s evolved somewhat along the way. It started unknowingly in early 2012, about two weeks in to a struggling 365 Project. I was in the middle of grad school, part time work and full time kid-chaos; so at almost midnight and I was feeling pretty desperate to get a shot. I pulled out my bible and played around with my new-to-me macro lens. I took shots of my favourite verse, playing with depth of field and shooting angles.
Got my shot, posted it, and then didn’t think any more of it until a mentoring session a few months later. I always really like the image, but couldn’t articulate why until I realized how much that image said about me. For shooting predominantly my kids, and struggling to express “me” through photography, this image said a lot of about me, my values and beliefs. So with some wonderful encouragement and inspiration,my project began!
Are there any challenges or ruts you faced during your project and how did you overcome them and keep a creative eye?
Yes! I found lots of challenges right from the get-go. Shooting text can only last for so long, before your images all start to look the same! I gradually evolved from taking just macro shots of my bible to images of heirloom pieces and old “treasures” that are important to me. I felt like the project was less scriptural, and more soulful and introspective as I went along. I really want to communicate what it is within the image that means something to me. It wasn’t just the words, but the fact that the words meant something to my Grammy, 40 years ago. I spent some time trying to focus on the little details. I love how the bibles were so worn out, to me is shows how loved and well used they were over the years.
I’ve also played with different processing styles and techniques to enhance my message. For example, I processed “blessed” darker than normal because I was feeling in a darker, more desperate mood and wanted to convey that desperation to viewers.
What have you learned through your process with your personal project?
I’ve learned different shooting techniques for creating effects in camera, as well as post-processing to take it one step further. My project has taught me to slow down, and that you can go beyond shooting a subject to showing what that subject means to you. I’ve also learned that you don’t need a fancy macro lens to shoot cool images. My mid-range used macro was working just fine, plus some of my favourites from the set were shot with my 30 mm using a ‘poor man’s macro’ technique. I wanted something a little different and loved the feel it gave to the images. I also played around with freelensing and loved the abstract-feel it gave.
Is there anything additional about your project that readers may find interesting?
I hope that sharing my project encourages someone to pick up their camera and take pictures of things that are meaningful to them. What I find most interesting about my project is that I tend to work on it when I’m feeling the least inspired, and it almost always gets me going again. If I’m feeling down, I focus on something that’s important or of value to me, and it helps me keep things in perspective. It’s when my kids won’t cooperate, the weather sucks, work is tiring, etc. that I work on this and it allows me to continue shooting when my usual go-to subjects aren’t working out.