How to Develop a Project: Alessandra Sanguinetti

© Alessandra Sanguinetti, from "The Adventures of Guille & Belinda"

In 2012 and 2013 fototazo published thirteen short essays from photographers to the basic question, "What advice do you have for starting a project?"

The series featured replies from Judith Joy RossIrina RozovskyAlejandro CartagenaPhil ToledanoSteven AhlgrenSusan LipperAmani WillettLisa KeresziEirik JohnsonRichard RenaldiBrian UlrichMark Steinmetz,  Tim Davis and Nicholas Nixon.

We continue with a follow-up series of advice from photographers on how to develop a project, asking them how they approach the middle ground of their projects after giving basic definition and before taking steps to finish.

The first responses came from Elinor CarucciMichael Itkoff and Jackie Nickerson. Today we continue with a response from Alessandra Sanguinetti.

Alessandra Sanguinetti was born in New York, 1968, and lived in Argentina from 1970 until 2003. Currently based in San Francisco. I'm a recipient of generous grants, fellowships and prizes. I'm a member of Magnum Photos and am represented in New York by Yossi Milo Gallery and in Buenos Aires by Galeria Ruth Benzacar.

© Alessandra Sanguinetti, from "On the Sixth Day"

Midway through a project is when I start making a lot of lists.

When I'm at a loss or think I'm done for the day I take out the crumpled list and it sets me straight again.

Then at night after shooting, I draw small frames with stick figures of the images I made, and the images I plan on making, so I can make a sort of storyboard and do some "invisible" editing to prepare for the next day. This lets me play more than looking at the images on a screen or at prints.

The main job is distilling the story line, what I want to know more about, what I want to expand on, identifying what easy routes I tend to take so I avoid them, what I'm missing, where I could play more, what I have enough of, what I have to redo and so on.

That's it. As long as I don't make the mistake of thinking the middle is the end - that I'm done when I've actually just begun (which is the very tempting after the initial novelty and ease are gone), the work will take shape and start having a life of it's own.

© Alessandra Sanguinetti, from "The Adventures of Guille & Belinda"