Musings on Photography

SoFoBoMo and Jumping the Gun

Posted in Solo Photo Book Month by Paul Butzi on March 25, 2008

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Over on Chantal Stone’s blog, I see that Chantal is preparing to jump the gun on the SoFoBoMo start. And this morning, I got email from Gordon McGregor, declaring his intent to (in his words) “go New Hampshire” and start early.

I would point out that New Hampshire is the state that goes first, as opposed to going before the start, and so strictly speaking it’s really more like he’s ‘going Florida’ or ‘going Michigan’. I’d point out, also, that both Florida and Michigan have, ahem, incurred certain costs and penalties as a result of starting early. And, as you can see from the newspapers, the consequences of Florida’s and Michigan’s hasty actions are far reaching and upsetting to many.

So I want to declare that people who start their SoFoBoMo project before 12:00 AM April 1, 2008, local time, will all be taken out, lined up against the wall, given a last cigarette, afforded a opportunity to say a few last words, offered a blindfold, and then…

No, actually, nothing like that. No one’s going to be shot because they start a few days early. The goal here is not to set some strict rules that govern who will win valuable prizes. There are no external valuable prizes, here. There’s just the satisfaction of doing the thing.

I’d encourage people to wait for April 1, because if you wait it means you’ll be starting at the same time as all those other people who respect the rules and laws that knit up the raveled sleave of our society and thus prevent our descent into an unspeakable chaos of crime, drugs, wanton promiscuity, and mindless violence. No, sorry, I got carried away, there. What I meant to say was that by starting on April 1, you’ll be maximally aligning the timing of your effort with the efforts of others, and so you’ll be better able to share with and benefit from the other participants. That, and that I’m hoping that that sort of interaction will make SoFoBoMo be a successful thing for enough people that we might all try it again next year.

Seriously, there is no official referee for SoFoBoMo. If you have a good reason to start a couple of days early, start a couple of days early. What qualifies as a good reason? I think that’s pretty much up to the real referee – yourself. If you can manage to wait, I’d encourage you to do so. If the window of your opportunity doesn’t align with the official start, we’ll all trust you to use your best judgement, and we’ll all be happy with your success at the end.

And for Pete’s sake, if you start early, at least do us all the favor of blogging about it like crazy as you start, so that the rest of us have something to distract us from the temptation to also start early, eh?

5 Responses

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  1. Gordon McGregor said, on March 25, 2008 at 3:15 pm

    Well, my main motivation/ panic for ‘doing a New Hampshire’
    (Chantal went early, first, so now I have to move back to going ‘first’ I suppose – enough with the silly season political references I think) is that my latest book concept (which I came up this morning – nothing like sticking to an idea) now requires at least 140 pictures, so I’m feeling the pressure.

    Though mainly I have a potentially willing core of people to pick on this weekend that I might miss out on later in the month.

    Or something. Seems like a pretty week excuse compared to Chantal’s though.

  2. Steve Weeks said, on March 25, 2008 at 7:27 pm

    I also have felt the urge to jump the starting day as the action I have in mind is starting and I only have the weekends to do it right, the coming one is prime. It seems somewhat like waiting for Christmas Day.

    After batting around three or four subjects, I felt like I would start making multiples and see which one won out (not a good start). Last evening I hit on one that was not in the original bunch, but spins my prop, so I can relate to what Gordon’s change-up.

    After reading this post I will defer until the set date in the spirit of unity and seek high ground in hopes it lasts the duration.

    God’s speed to Chantal, your starting date is worthy of the slight modification.

  3. Karsten Schmidt-Hern said, on March 28, 2008 at 2:56 am

    I started early, a few days ago, but mainly because I had not paid enough attention to realise that 1 April was supposed to be the starting date – I had thought it was up to each participant to start when he or she felt ready. I kinda felt ready with my kinda fuzzy concept. As to blogging like crazy – I dunno. At the beginning, it’s mainly about taking pictures, so I’m not sure if there is much to blog about. I can see more value coming out of sharing ideas and insights when it comes to making the actual book. Currently, I haven’t got the faintest what my book will look like, partly because I want to see the pictures that go in there before deciding on lay-out. Or will the lay-out decision inform my choice of pictures?

    As you may gather from my ramblings, I somehow short-circuited the old Adams adage about sharp pictures and fuzzy concepts and made that the working hypothesis of my project. By the way, I am not yet on the list, so the number is up to 133. And my project is to depict the coming of spring in various aspects, obvious and less obvious ones (still wondering about those less obvious ones). And one picture that may make it into the book ist this: http://www.unexposed.de/photoblog/uploaded_images/KSH_2008-03-24_2423-713216.jpg.

  4. Chantal said, on March 29, 2008 at 10:44 am

    Well, it looks as though I won’t be jumping the gun after all. My husband’s departure date was unclear for so long, now it looks like he won’t actually leave Ohio until April 30th. So I’m starting my project on April 1. grrr…the army

  5. […] means that you can pick any 31 day period, with the start falling no earlier than today (except for exceptional exceptions) and the end falling no later than May 31. Strictly speaking, I suppose you could start your effort […]


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