Last Friday, the 21st, I concluded my #365Project. A project which, according to some, might have had an end point but seemingly no objective.
There are critics for everything.
On July 22nd, 2016 I set my cell phone on a timer and took this shot:
- Each photo had to have me in it somewhere, even if I wasn’t the central subject of that photo.
- I had to compose, shoot, and edit each photo within the 24 hours of that specific day.
- No selfies. I could not be touching the camera at all while the exposure was happening.
About a year ago I sold off my broken Pentax K10D. Before that, I had taken a ton of photos over the span of several years – most of which are now stored on defunct photo websites, old hard drives, stolen laptops and who knows where else. As my archives deteriorated, so did the camera. At some point, the firmware of the camera had corrupted and Pentax quoted me a $600 fix. A frustrating deal, one I didn’t make. At the time I had been feeling something I hadn’t felt in quite a while: the desire to take photos again.
You can check hers out here. Be mindful that it is somewhat NSFW – whatever that means to you.
Quickly, this project became something of a journal. I’ve never really struggled with keeping a journal – but I have always been challenged with keeping a focused one. Eventually, the ones I keep written down turn into a sprawl of shopping lists, projects to manage, drafts for things that aren’t really keyed into journaling. The 365 project was a way for me to get an idea of what that day was about.
The mission was accomplished – I was back to taking photos every day. And not just the 365 photos either. The energy bled out into other projects that I had been thinking about. I finally felt like I had permission to shoot the things that I had always wanted to shoot. Having the clock on each photo meant I HAD to produce something, and having the specific criteria meant I had to take the time to produce it.
It is easy to create something every day, it is nearly impossible to be creative each day. In fact, there are only about 15 photos I’d consider looking at again. Everything else is just a draft.
Now I know what I need to do to actually finish something. The parameters, the time crunch, the audience – all of it is a mix that provides just enough pressure to create, but not so much that I feel suffocated. Of course, I will be using this mentality towards another project very soon.
Projects are not meant to be perfect. I look at projects as the starting point of a path – the end is never wholly defined and the resulting product may not be what I set out to create.
I need to get better at archiving. Not everything got uploaded on the day it was taken (turns out, I’m out of range a lot more often than I realized – not a wholly bad thing). Batch uploads messed up the chronology, and there is one image that will not glue itself to the album. Again, projects nor products are perfect.
From what I’ve experienced, if you were to start something like this I would do the following:
– Set a time parameter. A week, a month, a year.
– Set criteria to keep the project focused. 365 days of whatever, so long as “whatever” fits within your initial criteria.
– Accountability helps. Social media is good for that.