Pick a Project for Yourself and Your Camera; Just Do It!

The image you are viewing now is the grave site near Linden, TN of one Pinckney Hufstedler, a prominent local farmer. His family had grave sites for about 10-12 people in this small hilltop cemetery and had surrounded it with a limestone fence. Well, Brother Pinckney died in 1885 and his folks wanted to honor his fear of water somehow getting into his grave so they put a roof on top. Unfortunately, his people had an imperfect understanding of water and graves. An interesting story, don’t you think?

“Pickney’s Grave” has lasted to this day, has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places and is cared for by the Tennessee Historical Commission. It is now considered as an endangered site due to deterioration of the roof.

By way of explanation of how I ever found my way to this hard-to-find cemetery, I had directions as well as the story. Some years ago, the Tennessee Tourism Commission researched the culture, history and beauty of Tennessee and published a series of booklets laying out auto tours for discrete sections of the state. They call the whole series “Tennessee Trails & Byways” and the booklets have detailed maps and brief descriptions of each “stop.” I have been on a number of these and that’s how I discovered Brother Pickney. I have never met an opportunity to explore history that I did not like!

What does this have to do with your setting a personal photography project for yourself? A “project” will benefit the person who develops one and works at carrying it out. Here are some of the things it can do for you:

  • It can feed your interest in something, in my case local history and culture.
  • It can bring structure to your photography hobby, get you out of the house.
  • It can challenge your skills.
  • It can bring focus to your photography.
  • It can get you past a creative block.
  • It can be a lot of fun.

In my own case, many of these benefits were realized. I know that I am a better photographer
than I was before I started. And I cannot tell you how much fun I had talking to locals, finding amazingly good as well as cheap places to have lunch and coming across more than one humorous backstory like Pinckney Hufstedler’s fear of water getting into his final resting place.

Let me encourage you to select a project for yourself, which can be anything at all that strikes your fancy. Try it. You’ll like it.

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