365 project

Thirty Six

Thirty Six

Today is my birthday. I turn 36.

Today is also the start of a project – one that I’ve thought long and hard about since the holidays. It involves taking a photograph every day for a year and not sharing it with anyone.

Then, at the end? I’m not sure. I’ll figure it out when I get there.

That number keeps circling around my brain: 36. Thirty six. More than halfway to Old Man.

An idea is brewing.


On 365 Photography Projects

Come Follow Me

I spent a good time of the holiday break absorbing Rebecca Lily’s 365 project, from start to finish. I’ve mentioned Lily’s project here before, but I keep coming back to it because I love her journal-style posts, her photos, and her voice. And I admire the project.

It has me thinking about 365 projects in general. Many photographers attempt them, and many never finish. Some say don’t bother.

Reading Lily’s project blog got me thinking: could I do my own 365 project?

In a way, keeping a daily blog is a sort of 365 day project. Except for weekends, I post a photo (or two) per day on my Flickr.

The difference is, a 365 project is daily – make a photo every day, post a photo every day, even on weekends. It’s the combination of discipline and routine, along with any lessons learned along the way, that make a 365 project worthwhile.

Or not. Toward the end of Lily’s project, you feel her struggling to see the thing through. Is a mundane photograph worth the daily post? How do you handle the ebb and flow of the project, from the highs to the lows? What’s to stop you from giving up partway through?

Thinking about this kind of project, I voice these questions as I look at my own fears. I don’t think the daily photo making would be the tough part, although it would still be a challenge. It’s more like, what would be my goal in establishing a 365 project? Would I post every day? How?

This is the kind of planning and goal setting I feel would make for a successful project.

A tip from Lily, halfway through her project:

A 365 project is by far the best recommendation I could ever give a photographer who is struggling with finding their own style or voice. It’s like taking an intensive college course that’s normally a semester long, in 6 weeks. It’s perhaps five years’ worth (or more) of photography condensed into 1 year.

Maybe I should’ve started a project two years ago.


Share With No One

Fleetwood Diner - Ann Arbor, MI

I’ve been enjoying the heck out of Rebecca Lily’s (of that fame) 365 project blog. It’s a lovely mix of daily images and journaling.

But it got me thinking: what if you did a 365 day photo project and didn’t share the output with anyone?

No blog, no social media, no nothing – just kept all those images to yourself.

Now, what if you took those photos and made a photo book, but only shared it with someone you love or admire? One person, one copy.

Or what if you created a photo book and only printed a copy for yourself?

As artists, hobbyists, and professionals, sometimes we feel the need to share everything we do. But what if you made something just for you? Would you still do it? Would it still be worth doing?


Take A Break

Don't feel bad about taking a break from photography.

Such good advice from Eric Kim:

If you’re bored of photography, don’t feel inspiration, or feeling lost– take a break. Discover new artistic avenues, and replenish your creative fields.

Feeling like you have to take a photo every single day? Don’t.

This runs counter to a lot of advice out there. And there’s the idea of a 365 project, which Kim says often ends up feeling like a chore.

I’ve felt the pressure first-hand, and the lack of gumption to get out there and shoot—especially after my big portrait project last fall—so I took some time off. I’m taking breaks from Instagram here and there, too.

The kicker to getting over the guilt of taking a break. That’s what I’ve learned to accept lately.

Why feel bad about not doing something that’s totally voluntary anyway?