So what’s it like to commit to making a photo every day for a year? PPS Member Jess is doing just that. Here she explains why, what and how it’s been so far.
For those that are not sure what a ‘Project 365’ is, it is a project by which a photographer captures a picture a day for a whole year. There can be set themes, for example self-portraits, or it can be anything you want!
Everybody starts a project for their own reasons. They might want to increase their self-confidence through completing a self-portrait 365, they may just want to encourage themselves to use their camera more. For me it was more about the fact that I wanted to be able to remember the things I did, a year on. Choose a date from the past year; can you remember what you did? Unless you have a superhuman memory, I presume you don’t remember! I wanted to be able to expand my skill and knowledge of the vast photographic world and hopefully, by August 2012, I can look back on what I have done and be proud of my achievements.
There are also many ways of documenting your 365. It can be a very personal record on your computer or there is the opportunity to share your year with the world, through the wonders of the internet. Personally, I use a site called Blipfoto which is specifically designed in a journal format for photography projects, such as a 365.
The task of taking a photo a day for a whole year may sound extremely daunting (which it can be to start off with); however, it soon becomes part of your daily routine. I automatically shrug my camera bag onto my shoulders now when I go out somewhere, whereas that never used to be the case. I would only take out my camera when I knew I needed to. Incorporating my camera and the need to take a picture each day into daily life at first seemed very odd to both myself and my family and friends: “Can’t you just put it away now?” they would ask but I couldn’t since I didn’t have ‘the picture’ yet!
The most difficult times for me to keep up with my 365 are during the school term in the winter months. Being a student means that the large majority of my day is spent in school where I am unable to take my camera and snap away. The added difficulty of the dwindling hours of sunlight in the day means that a lot of my pictures end up being indoors or of night shots. The long, dark evenings certainly don’t add to my motivation for a picture either so I can sometimes be dragging myself out of the house at 8pm knowing that I have to get a photo. Weekends and holidays are much easier because I have much more time in which I am able to go out and about and take photos.
Moreover, when I am left with no ideas at all for a photo it is very difficult to think of what it could be. Although you may be reading this and thinking that you have lots of photographic ideas, do you have 365 of them? I fear ‘repeating’ photos or styles in the worry that my project will become dull and repetitive, but sometimes it has to be done when I lack the time or creativity.
I have recently had a 3 week stint of exams and at times like these when my energy is completely drained and my time is consumed with revision and schoolwork, managing a photo is hard. I am dreading getting to the May/June period of my project due to the fact this is when most of my final exams are going to be in and I am going to be extremely busy and stressed.
I can often find myself thinking “Why did I do this?!” but I continue on, one photo at a time! Although I can complain about how difficult it is, it really is one of the best things I have set myself to do and without it, I wouldn’t have some of my best pictures yet! It is a wonderful challenge that I am sure I will be proud of when it is complete!
Thanks to Jess for this and see more of her photos at Flickr