One of the most difficult aspects of photography is sticking to it. By that I mean picking up your camera and taking pictures regularly.
A long-term photography project is one way to make sure that you don’t leave your camera in the bag and end up taking random – and often meaningless pictures – with your camera phone.
My photography project for the past 25 years is documenting the family farm. I’ve written here before about the project, and I recently returned from a trip back home. The farm is in Linn County, Kansas and it’s a nine hour drive to get there from here. If I have the time, I always take the southern route. The interstate is faster, but it’s also a boring drive.
The southern route that is mainly Highway 50 takes me on a two lane road through the small towns of easter Colorado and western Kansas. These places are hidden treasure for me and I try and stop to take pictures along the way.
I try to make a trip to the farm twice a year — once in the fall and once in the spring. This is when things are quite busy and my uncles are planting and harvesting their crops of mostly soybeans.
The light this time of year is lovely and the landscape is a refreshing change for me. Unlike Colorado Springs, with its mountain backdrop, there is a horizon everywhere you look.
I spend a lot of time photographing this horizon and framing my subjects using the horizon line. If you’re a farmer or a perhaps a sailor, the horizon line is your constant. A North Star if you will. It defines your existence and shapes your way of life. While that’s probably a bit too deep for this column, that’s the way I think about it.
As you can see this is a project that takes on a deeper meaning to my and my family with each passing year. And if you don’t have project like this, try to create one of your own. It may be about family or something else that stirs you to pick up a camera.
Sean Cayton is a wedding photojournalist of 19 years and operates a successful, award-winning wedding photography studio in Colorado Springs. He’s also an award-winning photojournalist. Sean is happily married to the love of his life (also his business partner) and is father to three beautiful children. When he’s not working, Sean can be found outside flying kites with his kids, hitting golf balls or casting a fly rod to hungry trout.