Michael Axel , Sep 05, 2010; 06:38 p.m.
Nina, I'm having trouble understanding how you could be a graduate student and not have several ideas that are near and dear to your heart. Is there not a subject that you are absolutely passionate about? Do you have to conduct research, or do you want to conduct research?
I love fashion photography, and fashion in general. If I had the time, and I was in your shoes, I'd love to spend the time to understand how celebrity fashion influenced photography, like Jackie O's De LaRenta gowns, and how the press photographed them, or the same with the current first lady. Or how photography reflects contemporary lifestyles, from lighting to color to point of view. Or how the disruptive technology of DSLRs has changed the way shoots are done, and possibly degraded the quality of images. Or study how images are more the product of the photographer and designer's eye, instead of just about the model, now that photos can be edited. Or how Hollywood has influenced and made fashion photography more elaborate, comparing the simple cocktail party images of the 60's and 70's to today's fashion photography, like Annie Leibovitz, and what her editors think of her budgets. Or how fashion images have become surreal because editing software allows a photographer or designer to do as much processing as the mind can come up with.
Surely you must have enough passion to find your own topic (of which there are thousands). If not, perhaps you're not motivated by the field you are in.