365 Project - Photography Ideas
365 project. Words that will quite happily roll off the tongue. In the hands of a photographer these words can become something very different. Demanding, emotional, challenging, tiring and hopefully in the end, rewarding. Let me explain.
The 365 project is not complex. You take one photograph everyday for a year. That's it. Although the idea is simple the execution can become truly testing when the burden of maintaining a creative edge solidly for one year eventually sinks in.
For me creativity comes in waves. There are times when everything goes right, the ideas flow, you feel the magic happen and the work seems to create itself. On other occasions you have no idea how you ever came up with your previous work and you can taste the bitterness of your inadequacy. We each have our own ways of dealing with this feeling and sometimes it is brief and on other occasions it is not so. I was stuck in a particularly bad rut when I decided to set myself a challenge large enough to haul me out of the mire and change the way I work. I knew it had to be a 365 project.
The next decision was my subject. I knew I wanted to create quality images that were more than simple snap shots. I knew the images and eventual series had to tell a story of the year. I realised with my first child about to be born my time was going to become limited. It quickly became obvious what, or who, my subject would be.
The project started mere minutes after my daughter was born when the midwife placed her on the scales and suggested I might want to take a shot. Not one to miss an opportunity, I gathered myself from the events that had just occurred and took my iPhone out and grabbed the first shot. I never thought I would include any images taken on the iPhone but the shot was solid and my hand was steady enough to capture the shot, including the birth weight on the scales.
Although I embarked on my 365 project purely as a personal challenge, many photographers will use them to build a following on social media. In this age where everyone is shooting pictures, creating something special to stand out is a must and a 365 project can very much fit the bill. My 365 project was a based one project so I originally only shared it with family and friends through Flickr. The project very quickly became a documentary of the first year with a short description that accompanied each shot detailing a notable or amusing part of the day. The family and friends became avid followers and quickly began adding to the comments enhancing the overall documentary aspect of the project. Admittedly my family and friends were a biased audience but they came back day after day; the same principle applies to building a public following.
During the year the project almost became another member of our family. It was something that needed caring for, maintaining and required daily feeding. The nagging feeling of constant responsibility was prominent in my mind and this was only amplified by the following it had generated. I placed a large amount of pressure on myself to ensure I got each shot but now any failure would be shared by many others, I would be letting people down if I failed. Although at times it felt like a chore I had to remind myself that these challenging moments were the reason I took on the project in the first place. In the end I completed the 365 project without a missed day and it was in no small part by taking support from my followers and some creative inspiration from my wife, who's keen eye is scattered throughout the project.
My daughter is older now and looking back through the 365 project is magical. Coupled with the descriptions and comments that accompanied the shots they form a story of her first year that, in my opinion, a video could never compete with. My goal was to come out of the other end of the 365 project as a better photographer and a better storyteller. I hope this happened but most of all I took great satisfaction in the successful completion and I feel I have created something that my family will cherish for generations to come.
That only leaves the question, would I ever do another one? My wife asked me the same question a short time ago. I replied with certainty, "no way, never". She said, "I'm pregnant".