Some things just take time to develop and work out. Even then they don't work out the way you envision, or plan, or hope they would. Most of the experiments I've done on what turned out to be a couple separate projects here were figuring out approach or taking bits and pieces I found interesting but hard to capture and putting them in the background of thought vs something I've had to focus on intently.
Ironically the project that takes the most time with any collaborator is turning out to be the chastity project that I recently folded under this umbrella. It takes all day, or even days. Sure, testing dresses, and playing with shapes, or the like may only take an hour or two here or there but what I have in mind for the project just can't be done in any brief time with any given person.
Ironically because initially the first couple times I played with it two years ago it seemed like it would not really take that long. Prop takes a bit of fiddling but after that a lot of diverse initial reactions.
More of a note-to-self than anything else, this kind of stuff works out more like a documentary project in reality. The one exception is at the beginning. While not super quick, like 15 minutes quick it's the part that initially made it seem like the rest would be quick or quicker.
In reality it takes quite a bit getting ready. An hour or two if that's all that's going on. If getting ready is mixed in with other realities, activities, whatever, that could be the better part of a day. First off is the main prop. I got lucky the first couple of times out a few years ago in that didn't take a whole lot of time to get right. In most cases it's minimum of an hour of fiddling with small screws and such and 14 iterations for something that remotely fits. Then there is figuring out what dress might work for a day or night or whatever out and about in various contexts. Shopping, walking around the city, dinner, wherever.
Any way you slice it there's what one would consider the rest of the day. It's all over the place consisting of random activities indoors and out. Some private some public. Be it washing dishes, doing hair, or walking down the street to lunch, etc. This is the hard part in terms of making pictures. Opportunities that theoretically are great but impossible photographically or what not. Possibly the best pictures but the most difficult.
This was the first time Allie and I worked together ever and it happened to be on this project all day. I learned a lot — even more than I did with Alice. In terms of output it wasn't very productive. Don't get me wrong, we made some frames that I love and I've not even had a chance to really go thru everything we made but output vs. time spent is low and I should expect it to be as I now know.
Conspiring against us the first thing one might notice is the only dress we had that worked at all. You may see that the hardware doesn't really make that big a statement through the dress, that's good. The bad part is there is no subtlety at all to it's state of up or down. Not a great thing for out and about. Even sitting down or getting up was sort of spring-loaded.
Then there was the heat of the day. What started out as a gorgeous day around 9 or 10 AM turned into a sweltering inferno that made even walking up and down the stairs to street level burdensome. All of the shots except the one with Allie in the chair was when everything was adjusted to fit and the final lock was closed for the rest of the day. Always makes for a few interesting pictures.
I did grab a few frames here and there I think work well. I'll need some distance to evaluate. After a while the prop sort of fades into the background a bit except every once in a while when some sort of adjustment is required. Sometimes I grab it at just the right moment but there's one or maybe two frames prior to full on camera awareness which at this point I think also works well. At least that initial one.
This kind of thing is perfect X100 territory. I was hoping the XPro-2 fit the bill and was pleasantly surprised it does. Perfect for this project and confidence inspiring when I take it out in public. Obviously having a very small lens on the front is key.
The other thing that was interesting was late in the day. After all the in between stuff and other un-related activities mixed in. After settling down for a moment. I usually gravitate towards the more active, motion filled kind of opportunities. Quite surprisingly to myself at least I think this is the first time I've ever made frames that were very static with nothing going on. Sort of when people including myself are more in a state of rest. In other words after I was done.
The end of the day, immediately inside my front door. I love that picture and was definitely done prior to making this. I've talked a lot about my tendency to blur the lines between picture making time and other time. Here's a discovery; Blurring that line inside my own head instead of me being "on" or "off" is extremely import for this project. I absolutely need to blur those lines in my own head as much as I do for everyone else around me.
The huge amount of forward progress I made on my hiatus from other-people's work has far more to do with what I just mentioned above than other thing. For the chastity project to work the way I want it to that's the only way it will. I have o doubt at all after the last five days.
Even though I was done, I just kept making pictures. I made them at a slower pace and didn't worry so much about entertainment or direction or what was going on. I settled in and let Allie just settle in with not much discussion. Again the XPro-2 and tiny 18mm f/2 were perfect.
A few random shots here and there of Allie getting comfortable. Me grabbing a frame here or there afterwards. Leaving and coming back now and again. Notice the window is closed now? No rush to be done, I wasn't even in a race with the fading light. I only say that because that corner is perpetually dark and the first few shots as Allie reclined on the bed are about as good as it gets and it only lasts about 15 minutes.
There were hours left before dark-dark, even more between now and bed time at some point after midnight. Of course Allie was content to lay in that comfy spot for the duration after a day spent in a tight dress, metal underwear, and high-heels.
Even though I was done making pictures I can only wander around so long and chit chat here and there before I must provoke something. Just for the hell of it I chucked in a prop from another bunch of pictures I made the day before after Allie got comfortable. Just to see what would happen over the course of an hour or two.
More later. I chucked a few other bits in after an hour of that collar.
A much valued lesson on this project. No less than a day to get anywhere on it. My downtime is just as important and making pictures during that downtime is critical to make this project work. Lesson learned and I would be better off going into it that way in the first place rather than mixing in or trying to mix in more focused photographic endeavors with too many diverse people.
Turns out it ended up that way for the rest of the four days. I was "on" in picture making mode for everything else and ended up making pictures here and there for the chastity project during my downtime. Odd that I just realized that now. The bottom line is that to make progress on the project that's the only process that will work beyond those first moments.
All photos made with the Fuji XPro-2 and 18mm f/2 R. Processing via Lightroom CC with VSCO FILM05 BW400CN+ applied on import (ooops, usually use the regular version).
The XPro-2 with either the 18mm or 23mm f/2 or the X100 is the perfect companion for this project and the all day everyday making of documentary pictures. All of the images I made after I was done, they would have never been made with anything bigger or heavier or more intrusive to myself or my collaborator. Perfect.