12.21.2012

How to Start a Project: Phil Toledano

© Phil Toledano, Tiana, from the series "A New Kind of Beauty"

Two years ago, as my students at the Universidad de Antioquia were beginning to start their final projects for the semester,  I asked a handful of friends in the photography world if they had advice about starting projects for my students. I continue to present their responses to my students each semester.

It occurred to me that their collective advice would probably be of interest generally. With that idea, I will be publishing some of the responses I received as well as soliciting new responses in order to publish a series of a dozen replies to the basic question, "What advice do you have for starting a project?"

We started the series with replies from Judith Joy RossIrina Rozovsky, and Alejandro Cartagena. Today we continue with a response from Phil Toledano.

Toledano was born in London. His work is socio-political, and varies in medium, from photography to installation. His work has appeared in solo and group shows internationally as well as in Vanity Fair, The New York Times Magazine, The New Yorker, Esquire, and GQ, amongst others.

Phil Toledano: Here's the secret about starting a project. START THE PROJECT.

It doesn't matter if you think you're not ready. It doesn't matter if you're not completely clear. What matters is forward momentum. It's easy to have ideas. It's much harder to actually DO them. Of course you have to like the idea, and I go through a variety of bizzarre processes to ascertain whether I'm barking mad or whether the idea is good. But even when you think it's good, you don't know until you're looking at something, until you're holding it your hands. So get bloody cracking. Otherwise, you'll be having a drink at a bar in 5 years, looking at someone else's version of your project.