Why Is Documentation Important?
You could say that an artist is only as successful as their last catalogue! As discussed earlier, there is certainly no need to document everything, and there are times when you intentionally don’t want to, in order to create something really special, that can only be experienced first hand. However, documentation allows your work to live on in other forms, in a catalogue, a magazine review or on a website or blog. With the advent of digital technology, its really never been easier, but their are certainly some guidelines worth considering.
Who are you documenting for? If it is simply for you own personal use, to reflect upon, to store ideas, and to assess your own progress and development, then its probably not that crucial what equipment you use or how great your skill in suing it is. A smart phone would suffice. They are relatively affordable, very handy, and actually take pretty good images and video. Blogs are also affordable and relatively easy to set up and operate, and can serve as a visual diary for your own use. You don’t even have to publish them at all.
If however, you are working on a significant project, carrying out an important commission, or embarking on your life’s work, then it may well be worth investing more in your equipment, doing some courses to improve your skills, or better still, employ the services of a professional photographer or film maker. A well executed photograph, a well put together catalogue or a beautiful film, could pay you back many times over in the long run. So don’t skimp when its worth it.
Also be prepared. You will save a lot of time, energy and stress if you do a few things beforehand. Check your equipment of course, batteries, lenses, memory cards and the like. But most importantly sit down and work out exactly what you want or need. A simple tip, is to write ten ‘shot’ that you need. What processes need to be captured? Do you need sponsors or VIPs photographed? Does it need to be a daytime or nighttime image? Probably the most overlooked subject is YOU! And if you want great images of yourself, in process, working in community, setting up an exhibition, then you will need some help; professional or otherwise, depending again on your needs.