PAW Project

My 2002 PAW went on hiatus in July and most of the remainder of the year passed without any updates. 2003 was even worse! 2004 was a tad better. I don't have much hope for 2005 except that I posted Week 1's picture in Week 1. We'll just see how it goes. Anyway, the latest pictures are here. Thanks for visiting!


Welcome to this, my PAW project. What is "PAW," you ask? PAW stands for Photo-A-Week. It's the brainchild of one Kyle Cassidy, a very gifted and creative photographer masquerading as a talent-less slacker. That describes me, too, come to think of it, except for the "gifted and creative" part.

In Kyle's words: "One decent photograph every week, posted Mondays or thereabouts for fifty two weeks or so. I encourage you to do the same. You have too many cameras and you don't take enough pictures."


So I decided doing a PAW would help me a lot. Imagine how you could grow artistically if you had the discipline and motivation to take at least one good picture a week. Expecially in my case, since I expend a lot of effort to avoid actually taking pictures. I read the Leica, Nikon, and Streetphoto mailing lists, dream of equipment I would like to get, read books about photography, clean my lenses, shoot endless "test" rolls, check out the forums at, read catalogs, etc, etc, ad nauseam. None of this does very much to improve my photos, however. For that you have to take pictures--lots of pictures--look at them critically, figure out what went wrong, and then take more pictures... over and over again. It's just like practicing a musical instrument. You have to put in the time in the practice room. You can't become a better musician just by buying a new instrument.

Where does one find the motivation and discipline for such a project? Well, for me the motivation comes partly from Kyle, whose energy and good humor are very inspiring, and the remainder from the community of PAW-ers, whose dedication and enthusiasm for their projects are contagious. I look forward to seeing their submissions each week.

As far as discipline, I have no such thing. I mean, I like taking pictures, but getting a PAW together and keeping it going? I don't know about that. But I'm going to try. Although I usually do take a "photo a week," it often takes me several weeks until I get around to developing the film. And scanning and creating these pages has to wait until there's a lull in other activities. After all, it's just a hobby. Thus, it's taken me a couple of months to pull this together, and I doubt that I'll be able to update it on the scheduled weekly basis (Sticklers will notice that the actual dates don't jibe with the "weeks" much at all. This trend will no doubt continue.) Still, it's worth doing. We'll see.

One benefit I've seen already comes from being forced to edit your work. Usually, I look at a roll, say "Yuk," and move on. But creating the PAW pages has made me take a close look at what I've done so far without just writing it all off as hopeless junk. As I looked through January's negatives, most of which were shot in poor light using Neopan 1600, I found I rejected many of the shots purely on technical grounds. (And I thought all I had was good technique!) The combination of slow shutter speeds (causing camera shake) and wide-open aperture (leaving no room for focusing errors) meant that most of these photos were unacceptably soft. Because of this, some of the most interesting subjects didn't make the cut. So I found I have something to work on already.

Not only are you forced to critique your own work in creating a PAW, but you can also expect that others will critique your efforts as well. Now, I don't need anyone to tell me my pictures are crappy; I can see what's wrong with them myself. But I've learned from past experience that I often focus on the wrong problem. What I find objectionable may indeed be a problem, but it's just not the most important one. It's like someone who puts shiny new hubcaps on an old junker, thinking that's all that's needed to make the car perfect. The car owner has blinders on, and so do I.

The Photos

To see the PAW, follow the links on the left of this page, which lead to "index" pages (one for each quarter) with descriptions and thumbnails. Larger versions of the photos are arranged in "slide show" fashion without descriptions. Click on any thumbnail to see its larger version.

Unless otherwise indicated, all photos are full crops.

For a variety of reasons, I'm always at least a month behind, but eventually the pictures get posted, often in groups. All comments are welcome. Thanks for visiting.

-- Tony Green, March 3, 2002

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