I first participated in Project 365 in 2011 –one photo for each day of the year, and then modified it in 2012 to include writing.
As I looked back over the years’ work and the photos I selected as my POTD (Photo of the Day), I realized how much I had grown in skill and vision, how much photography is still a joyous part of my daily life, and how much more there is to discover not only in photography but in this fabulous world.
I go nowhere without my camera. . . it’s almost become another “limb!” Never once did I consider it a “chore” to make a photo, and my camera and photography have become as much a part of my daily routine as caring for my dogs and horses. I’ve pushed the boundaries of my photographic techniques and developed an almost insatiable appetite for learning more. I’ve recaptured a new sense of wonder. . . something that has so enriched every aspect of my life.
There were also significant benefits in addition to feeling great about completing something in an honest and timely manner. The first was a substantial portfolio of my images posted on my photo blog (www.ohkphoto.com), which made it easy for potential clients to view samples of my work. The other was a little more subtle and appeared only after I analyzed and reflected on why some of my photos touched me more than others. I discovered something extraordinary, at least for me, about creativity.
We can be told a hundred times that when creativity seems to be blocked, we need to just “work through it.” I was always puzzled as to how one does that. How long should a writer sit and look at a blank sheet of paper until the words begin to arrive? It’s different for everyone and for their craft. For me there were two parts to the solution for “creativity drought.”
One was to simply “push through” the 365 day project, regardless of mood, weather or circumstance. More than once, to not miss a day of the project, I climbed out of a warm bed at 11:45 PM and awakened the dogs to pose them for a photo I should have taken earlier that day but had other priorities. So several of my photos show 11:59 PM as the “time taken” –just under the wire for POTD. One unfortunate day I was so sick with some kind of stomach virus . . . my photo on that day was a shot of the Pepto bottle –about as attractive a subject as I was that day, and certainly fits in the category of “desperation shot.” That’s what it means to “push” through a project.
The other and equally important part of the formula was to “relax into the block” . . . a very tenuous line, that little area of stasis between “pushing” and “relaxing.” I discovered that some of my best photos resulted from “failed” efforts such as searching for a suitable subject for a theme-based photo and coming up with “zilch.” However, by relaxing, recognizing and listening to the quiet little voice within, I always found something better.
There is one more gift I received from completing the project. The free flow of inspiration and creativity that infused my photography, now spread into other areas of my life . . . writing, crafts, cooking, publishing, and even housework!
So, will I do it again for 2013? You bet I am. The opportunity for growth is just too great to not do it. And for me, there is something magical about starting a project on the first of the year.
Photography, or any other art form, is much like life . . . you never “arrive” and it’s the journey that matters. In either case, if you ever believe you’ve “arrived,” then you’re “finished” in more ways than one.
Happy New Year, and here’s to boundless creativity and inspiration for 2013! Enjoy the journey!