Another Project 52 participant, Don Fadel, checks in from Florida.

“First of all I would like to thank Don Giannatti (historically “WizWow”) for establishing Project 52 and taking the time to organize and critique the images. This was a major commitment on his part for which I am personally very grateful.

The most basic challenge Project 52 presented to me was to apply what I was interested in photographing (people) to assignments that I had no control over. Naturally, some of the assignments by their nature precluded this from happening (photographing a shiny object, for example, as in assignment 40). Other challenges including such assignments as photographing strangers or food – things I normally wouldn’t do. I would therefore say that forcing me out of my normal comfort zone and/or forcing me to look at an assignment creatively in order to leverage what I like to shoot challenged me to look at concepts and subjects that ultimately got me pointed in the right direction in terms of where I want to go with my photography. More on this later.

As an example, there were assignments on the weather. I photographed my daughter showing only her legs and her boots, and a very full retention pond. This was part of a series that included to what amounted to a landscape shot and a detail shot. But I got that person in.

I’m not saying that I always succeeded. I honestly can say that some of the failures (which I will blessedly spare you from) provided the most useful lessons. I learned from the successes too. And from viewing how others approached the same assignment.

Some of the assignments obviously were easier than others. I remember setting a white seamless out on the sidewalk and waiting for strangers to walk by and let me photograph them. That didn’t work very well. OK, it didn’t work at all. So in frustration I walked across the street to the skate park and photographed some skaters I met. These were the first extreme sport type pictures that I ever took, and the experience was enjoyable and led to some decent images.

The fact that the assignments were modeled on “real world” assignments meant that there were parameters and expectations. I couldn’t just shoot what I wanted to (unless I could somehow shoehorn that into the assignment). And the quality had to be there. Don is very detail oriented, and picked out the little things (and sometimes to my embarrassment the big things) that I would not normally have noticed on my own. Peers during the critiques provided feedback as well – positive as well as the constructive negatives.”

More from Don and a look at some of his images after the break

“My paid work to date had always been images that I made on my own terms. This was the first time really that someone else set the conditions and I had to fulfill them. Invaluable experience.

What I took away from the whole experience was a more deliberate approach to photography on my part. I find I do a lot more planning than I used to. I am also more detail oriented – it is the little things in the photograph that I pay more attention to. I also feel that I have a new commitment to quality and to stretching myself and my abilities to increase the uniqueness of what I am offering.”

Don’s Work:

“My plans moving forward are to make more money with my camera. I now recognize that this is a necessary precondition to me being able to touch more people with my photography. I recently participa=”file”]ted in a charitable endeavor using my pictures to help them raise money. Not only are people willing to pay decent money for my work, but there is that expectation that quality means paying more for it. Rather than being taken aback by what we were asking, they instead were grateful for the opportunity. That was eye opening for me as photography had always been just a hobby to me.

I credit this project with upping the ante in terms of the quality that I am able to offer. I also don’t think I would have even taken that step in selling my work had it not been for Project 52.”

Don Fadel
All Photographs copyright Don Fadel

Thanks Don… I am sure you will be involved in next years as well.

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