I was surfing the web a few days ago, looking for photography-related topics to amuse and educate myself, when I came across this. If you want to know what you'll see before you click the link, it regards Adrian Fisk, a UK-based photojournalist who has created a project called iSpeak, which he began in China and has expanded into India.
The iSpeak concept is simple: Fisk finds young people from different walks of life, gives them a blank sheet of paper, tells them to print whatever they would like to express on it, then photographs them holding their words up to the camera. Some write in English, others in their native language. For those who are illiterate, Fisk photographs them holding a blank sheet of paper and provides a caption that expresses what it is they want to say. Even though his motif is the same from one photo to the next, his subjects and their words provide an extraordinary and insightful variety.
Fisk's project reminded me of a project I saw years ago in Los Angeles. It was produced by Ed Rusha, a fine artist and photographer. Rusha mounted a motor-driven camera to the front passenger window of his car, lens pointed outward, attached a cable release, and photographed other drivers throughout Los Angeles. The result was as literal an expression of L.A. street photography as you can imagine. It was also one of the best possible ways to approach street photography in Los Angeles, where drivers outnumber pedestrians ten to one. In a later project Rusha photographed every building on both sides of the famous Sunset Strip, in sequence, from one end to the other.
Anyone who has browsed the art photography section in a large bookstore can see similar examples: mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, sisters, the elderly, nudes with freckles... The list goes on.
If you want to come up with a simple idea of your own, look for something that has enough scope that you'll find plenty of subjects to photograph, yet not so much that your project lacks a clear and obvious focus. Also look for something that allows you to use the resources you already have at hand. Although it's nice to travel to distant lands and to use specialized equipment, it's certainly not necessary.
Most importantly, your project should be something you care deeply about or for which you have an intense interest. You'll need that energy to motivate you to keep at it from one day to the next, until you sense the project is done and you're ready to move on to something else. I promise you, you'll not only learn a lot about your subject, you'll learn even more about yourself.