Why You Should do a 365 Photography Project

08 Jan

First of all, let me say that I do not believe in new year's resolutions. To me it's an unnecessary stress and pressure to add onto our already complicated every day lives. Waiting for that one special date where everything changes suddenly is only bound to end in a disaster in some shape or form. What I do believe in is picking a day that fits with your life and starting a project then. So, why not let it be a 365 day photography project?

For me, the inspiration to do such an involved project arose half way through the year. I had a different special date I wanted to celebrate and that was 5 August - the day I arrived in this country, so it seemed only appropriate to start a project that documents a year of my life living here. My thoughts, the little things I see everyday, the little nothings that suddenly become somethings. As someone who works from home, it was a big challenge for sure. In fact, most of my project was captured at home or around home. I refused to specifically go out of my way to do things or travel to places just to document them for my project, instead I would always have my camera ready, charged, with a memory card inside so I can grab it whenever or throw it in my bag as I am heading out. 

Did I feel lack of inspiration on some days? Definitely. There were days when I felt I have nothing to say, nothing to show for. But even on those days I made sure to consciously remind myself that it is okay not to feel anything, it is okay not to have a large dose of artistic inspiration. On days like that I would take a deep breath and let myself get lost on my own thoughts for a moment. A simple but conscious decision to check in with myself, how I feel, and what I see, which helped me see something that would tell a brief story about my day. 

I took this when attending a wedding as a guest. A brief break in the venue garden before going back inside to celebrate.

Now, I have the humongous task of putting it all together in a book. So far I have edited, exported and set all images aside, which was a task in itself! As you are doing it you may feel lost at times but I guarantee that when you are finished, you will feel an overwhelming sense of pride. Not so much about how beautiful or unique your images are but more about the fact that you committed to creating something for yourself, you committed to take time out of your day every day to think about this, to ask yourself what you feel and how would it help you describe your day visually. 

January can be a good push to get started but for me starting mid year was more helpful. I did not feel like I am part of a movement that begins at the start of every year, which can be beneficial to some. Instead I felt like I am solely responsible for my own actions and my commitment, and that's what helped me push through it. In terms of practicalities - sometimes you may not be able to import and edit your image on the same day that you took it, which is fine - don't feel disappointed! It's more important to take that image. For example, there were days where I was travelling and didn't have access to my laptop to upload images but I did make sure that I take my daily photograph on my camera, which I then edited when I was able to use my laptop again. 

The more I shot, the more I noticed little moments around me. These moments are what made me really enjoy my year of shooting this.

This project, as simple as it is, gets harder every day. It teaches you to see and to see more what's around you every day. It teaches you to notice things when you are looking and it teaches you to be mindful about your own emotions and how they fit in with your photography. 

I'd love to hear if you have tried a project like this - did you succeed and finish it? What did you find the hardest part? I also compiled my work into a brief Youtube video if you'd like to take a look:

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