Stepping Out

by Charles Starrett

Stepping Out by Charles Starrett
From the beginning, my priorities for this project have been !in order": 1. 2. 3. Finishing on time with the proper length book !essential" Including interesting content !rather important to me" Creating a quality product !I could care less" #Tweaking the SoFoBoMo Project http://cstarrett.tumblr.com/post/31537573

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Based on my goals as quoted above, I will have succeeded if I can !nish this Forward and "print# out this book to a PDF !le within the next hour. I have learned many lessons throughout this project: about motivation, being an artist, composition, photography, and just plain how to use my camera. I hope to post many of my observations and lessons learned post$mortem on my blog Done is Good which I%ve been using to report my progress on SoFoBoMo &http:// cstarrett.tumblr.com'.

In the past I have enjoyed taking the occasional "artistic# photo, but for the most part, I only take pictures of my children and their classmates. Taking on a project of this scope is entirely new to me, and as a self$trained photographer I wasn%t sure how it would turn out. In the end I am happy with the photos despite the many technical problems I see in them. I could have tried to go back and re$take many of the shots, but I doubt I could have !nished the book if I had done so, and after all, the !rst goal was to !nish! I am under no illusion that the photographs in this book are anywhere near "professional,# but I am still very, very pleased with the result. It shows me that I have some real potential, should I choose to become more serious and disciplined with my photography. Throughout the project I have thought about how much text to include in the book ( how much of a story to create along with the photographs. As time went on, I decided it would be best to let the photos stand alone, and one of my last$minute struggles has been with photo titles themselves. I%ve posted many of these photos on my Flickr account &http:// www.)ickr.com/photos/cstarrett/tags/sofobomo/' and given many of them clever titles. The fact is that although I started the project with Grand Ideas as to the meaning and message behind photographing the trails in my area, when it came to actually taking the pictures, I couldn%t get myself to care about meaning anymore. All I cared about what the composition itself and whether it grabbed me or not. The !rst problem I ran into was that pictures of trails wasn%t grabbing me at all. I tried di*erent angles and approaches but something was missing. Then, all at once, I realized that the something was my own shoes.

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That !rst day I was totally unprepared for taking photos on a wet, soggy trail in my stocking feet, but that%s exactly what I did and I couldn%t have been happier. When I got home that I day I did stick an extra pair of sandals in my backpack so I wouldn%t have to be out with wet feet again, but I%ve never regretted my decision to make the series about my shoes. What I have changed my mind about, however, is making these photos be about anything at all. I have decided to remove all of the titles and replace them with just numbers to leave all interpretation up to you. Because shoes are personal items and imply a person standing in them, I often did think in terms of narrative as I was framing and composing the shots, but as often happens, my favorite photos suggested many di*erent ideas to me as I looked at them later, and some I just enjoy for the lines or the textures. I hope you can enjoy the photos as well. I have had so much fun and learned much that I never would have learned without this challenge. I want to thank Mr. Paul Butzi for tossing this idea in the Internets, the rest of the committed photographers who joined in, and even those who got the original idea of NaNoWriMo o* the ground without which Mr. Butzi might not have been inspired to come up with SoFoBoMo. On to the photos!

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!Please excuse any typos in the Forward. It is now 30 minutes to midnight and I want to be sure to $nish on time!"

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Stepping Out
by Charles Starrett a SoFoBoMo 2008 book

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