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Actually, I believe what you want to do may be possible. I have run into a similar need.
In my case I have a custom post type and in that post the user can set the item as either active or inactive. When they select inactive they are then shown a select box where they can select an alternate item to use in its place. I could have used the Post Object or Relationship type field for this, however, this would allow them to select another item that was also inactive. I did not want to do this because it would just confuse them and make them do the work of selecting an active item.
Then I found this tutorial: Dynamically populate a select field’s choices
(sorry for the long link, for some reason the editor would not allow me to add the link the right way.)
Anyway, the tutorial shows you how to use an options field to populate a select box. However, with a little work I was able to change it to a query to get only the items that are marked as active and built my own select that way. I have found this useful several times with the current project I’m working on.
You might be able do the something similar but in your case you can create a query that gets a list of the projects and then a loop to pull the list of images in each project. Then your user could select from that. Unfortunately there might be more work because you would only be able to add text to the select field to choose from and I don’t think you can show the actual images in the select field so it may not be a perfect workaround.
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