Pictured above is my 2011, a year full of so much joy, love, adventure, and hard work.
I have a few posts in the works about these different aspects of the past year, but now I'd like to reflect on doing my very first 365 project. You can view the project on Flickr (with captions), or on Flickriver (easier to navigate — just scroll).
I kicked off the project at 12:01am, last January first, just as my friend Adam popped the cork off a bottle of New Year's Eve champagne. As I explained in my first post about the project, I knew 2011 would be a crazy, busy year and I this was my way of slowing it down or (at the very least) having one great memory from each and every day of the year.
While I originally imagined myself taking a carefully crafted photo each day — the product of a shoot or an artistic still life — by the end of January, I realized that the project had quickly evolved to be more of a photo diary of my life. It became less about my subjects and more revealing of me and my habits (staying up late, drinking, road tripping, testing new beauty products, cooking, going for solitary walks) than I would have planned.
Forcing myself to habitually take photos both reflected and shaped my year. On the busiest days, it documented what I was doing. On other days, I carved out time specifically for photography and treated it like a daily practice.
Despite my best efforts, I missed many days. Either I didn't categorize them properly in Flickr, or simply failed to take photos, but somehow, 43 days fell through the cracks. But, at the end of the year I have 322 photos that contain wonderful memories, and moments I might otherwise have forgotten.
Some days I used my 5D Mark II (my dream camera), some my point-and-shoot, and on others I used my blackberry. The quality of the camera was irrelevant; the moments each camera documented were what mattered.
If you're a photographer, or are thinking that 2012 might be your year to venture into photography, I would definitely encourage you to start your own 365 project. You don't need a fancy camera to do this. Anything will do. Some days you will hit walls, phone it in, and get frustrated. Other days, you will have breakthroughs, find new angles, discover new places meet new people. Both the good days and bad ones will make you a stronger photographer. Having photographs that help you document and look back on those days will strengthen you as a person.
I loved it so much that I've decided to keep going for another year. My goals for this year? Miss a maximum of five days, take a few more (less emo) self portraits, and focus on refining my style and pushing my work forward.
To all my friends, family and clients who became a part of this project, thank you so much.
If you're doing the project this year, please send me a link to where you're keeping it. Good luck!