Limitations and project 365

I have not talked about it all that much, but last year I tried a 365 project. My idea was simple, to always have at least one camera with me. Was it an iPhone, film SLR or DSLR, didn’t matter. The goal was to use it to photograph something, intentionally and in the best way possible – so no snapshots of lunch, although a few photos of food made it into final collection, a note in EverNote. I decided not to share all my bad images with the world…

In summary, was able to keep to the project, and missed only a handful of days. It was getting worse towards the end, when I knew not much is coming from it. In fact,

what I got from 365 project?

The only real benefit from the project was to remember to take camera when leaving the house. I started carrying my lighter film SLR most often then really heavy DSLR, but iPhone was really last resort or when dark or driving. We have traveled quite a lot this year, so on many days finding a subject was not a big deal. When we were at home, though, combined with our another yearly project of walking a t least 10k steps a day, the 365 project turned into finding something interesting to shoot in the neighbourhood. The images to accompany this post are really the best of the best, to give you an idea how difficult it was. I made the collection based on images just shot in the town I live.

Click on any image to see them all in the Lightbox gallery.

why it did not work?

I also do realize now why I have not learned more, not improved more during that time. I made the basis of my project far too broad. David DuChemin talks about the power of limitation quite a lot, and it finally starts sinking in. I did not have those limitations, not on camera, nor subject, nor treatment, anything. It was sometimes difficult to find anything to shoot. In fact, I was most productive (and happiest with the results), when I was doing ROYGBIV projects with added limitations of my own. Finding a red food on a given day, while might required more searching, gave rise to better images and interesting series.

what next?

While I am not planning another 365 for this year (I wrote yesterday what I will be busy doing), I might consider it next year. I am thinking using ore flashes and controlling light is something I need finally to tackle, and while more time consuming, it might be worth doing. Or maybe as a monthly one-a-day project.

UPDATE January 9, 2014- shortly after this post went live, a great article by Katie McEnaney was posted on Digital Photography School, encouraging to take on 365 project. She makes few good points I missed. Indeed, I am more aware now of what is happening around me, visually, and more likely to spot good light or abstract when arises. Maybe it was not such a waste of time, afterwards!