When I started doing the 365 Project I had this lofty goal of using it as a way for me to improve using my DSLR. A photo every day? If I thought I was ever going to be “a photographer”, a photograph every day should be a piece of cake! After all, it’s what I most want to do, and what I’m passionate about.
But, like most resolutions, this one started from a good place but quickly revealed itself to be something that would require a great commitment; more than I realised. Not just when I felt good, or when the year was fresh. Not even when I had a specific event, or an “excuse” to photograph something. The true measure of how committed I was came at those times it was hardest – when I felt uninspired, when I felt angry or resentful that I hadn’t been able to take a photo that day, and most especially when I felt down (I had a few really, really low points this year). And yes, in the beginning I did use my DSLR for a majority of the time but that was something that fell away the further along I got in the year. But instead of getting discouraged, or using it as an excuse – well, I’ve already ruined it now by not using my proper camera, I might as well stop – I forged ahead and used my phone. I really dislike the camera on my phone, and some photos were truly bad, but I still kept going. And on the days when I absolutely couldn’t take something, I made myself sit at the computer and edit something I had taken as recently as possible.
It became something that was deeply personal the further along it went. I felt as though people could tell how I was feeling, or what was going on in my life just by one small snapshot. It felt like the year, and time itself, was much more tangible when it was documented in this way.
It also felt like some days all I was photographing were leaves, or sunlight in between tree branches but I started to appreciate them for what they were. Photographs are so much more than the content. They are emotions, story, history. For that particular day, on that particular spot, for whatever reason that was what caught my eye. And so much of that depended on what was going on with me, both the big and the small. And it’s the smaller moments that we might forget as the year goes on.
I can also see differences in my photography from the start of the year until now. I think my eye is more honed, and I have a different sense of composition. I believed before I started that I “thought” like a photographer, but I think so much more in terms of photography now than I ever did before.
It’s the one thing that I have most noticed about doing this project and the thing that surprised me the most – driving home this evening, on the 1st of January 2015, I was stopped at a traffic light and saw the late afternoon Summer sun stretching lazily over a church on the corner of the street. And I clearly remember thinking, it’s a pity I don’t have my phone out, that would make a good photo for today.
I thought I’d feel the deep sense of relief once it was all over, but I don’t. I feel accomplished, but a bit empty now too.
So the 52 Project is probably a good idea, yes?