a list of questions to ask before starting a new project

In September of the first pandemic year, a photographer I’ve known for a decade died unexpectedly. In November of the first pandemic year, I got COVID-19. And in that time, I’ve been thinking about how to do more of the kind of long-term work that I find meaningful. Here are some questions I wrote down that could be helpful to others:

  1. Do I love it? Do I believe in it?

  2. Do I need the money?

  3. Do I want to do it? Is it interesting?

  4. What do I think about the people? What do I feel? What is my hunch?

  5. Is it logistically feasible? 

  6. Does this further my creative interests? 

  7. Is the contract fair? 

  8. Is the division of work fair? 

  9. Do I have the energy to take it on? 

  10. Does the work honor my professional integrity? 

  11. Are there any boundary issues? Does the person in charge cross boundaries? 

  12. Is there drama? Does the person in charge send emails at all times of day & night or exhibit other signs of a lack of boundaries?

Lord if I can only soak my head in work I’d be fine - illustrator Maurice Sendak in a 1967 letter he wrote to my mother



April 15 - I will be participating in a panel organized by the Harvard Kennedy School Carr Center for Human Rights Policy to launch Erica Chenoweth’s new book Civil Resistance: What Everyone Needs to Know. The event is from 3-4 PM ET and you can register HERE and read more about Chenoweth’s work in this New Yorker article “How to Stop a Power Grab.”

May 3 - I will be giving a lecture at Cornell University on “Migration at the US-Mexico Border During the Biden Era” on May 3 from 4:30-5:45 PM ET. You can register HERE.

May 15 - I will be hosting a virtual talk at the Bronx Documentary Center with the photographers who contributed to the photo book RED FLAG. The book documents the impact of COVID-19 on Latin America & includes essays by Jon Lee Anderson, Marcela Turati, and I. You can pre-order the book here and sign up for the virtual talk HERE.