There’s a sense of freedom in knowing I have the tools to create art that satisfies my soul. That can tell the story of a year. Of moving boxes and mossy trails and sippy cups that are now outgrown. It’s a gift to my husband, my children, to future generations, and to me. And although I may not feel the satisfaction daily, the growth alone is enough. It’s almost too much at times, a quiet voice urging me to push on. To create more. To learn new techniques, look closer, and discover the tiniest details of the world that surrounds me. The desire to create is so strong that it’s pushing me into another year of photographs. 365 days documented again. And though not every image is a perfect story-teller, each one is a teacher.
Have you begun a 365 of your own? I’m certainly no expert, with just one short year under my belt. But nevertheless, here are some thoughts and things I’ve learned from a year of intentional shooting…
Accountability: Having a place for your images is a good way to hold yourself accountable. Whether it’s public or private, a landing-place is a nice way for you to access them easily and tell the story of your year. I decided on a 365 blog as a way to keep them organized. It gave me a place to easily see my growth throughout the year, and I knew if I missed a day there would be a gap in the story. It was motivating for me and gave a space to record thoughts with the photographs. It also gave me the ability to link the project to this blog and my web site, without over sharing personal work with clients.
2015 will look different. My blog provided me with accountability to myself. But now that it’s become a rhythm, I don’t feel the need to post daily in order to shoot daily. My focus this year will be on connections. Human to human. Connections with art. To the earth. They’re a soulful dance between us and our passions. They’re beautiful and fulfilling and these are the moments I want to focus on. When I revisit my images from this past year, connections are what fill me. They’re the images I’ll continue to share on my personal blog and all of the in-between will be memories for our family.
Allow yourself to evolve: When I began this project I had been shooting for less than two years. I couldn’t yet describe my work because it hadn’t evolved into something that was truly me. I still had so much to learn, as I do now, but I had to learn the basics first. I had to shoot in EVERY type of light. Practice with composition. There were techniques that I didn’t even know I needed to learn in order to make my work truly fulfilling. I don’t know that I would have pushed myself to the extent I did had it not been for this project. So on the days when you don’t feel like shooting, push yourself a little further. Take your time. Let yourself get wrapped up in what you’re creating and stretch your imagination. At some point you’ll forget you didn’t want to shoot.
There isn’t as much contentment in staying the same. When you shoot every day, you can’t help but crave something different. The desire is a need for growth. It lead me to freelensing, practicing with double exposure, and self portraits with my children. Many of my favorite images were created because of the desire for growth.
Staying inspired: Perfection doesn’t exist. Perfect to me may be flawed to you. Flawed to you now may be perfect later. Creating art that you’re proud of is a harder task when you’re feeling uninspired. But photographing the life that’s happening all around you is available every day. So when you aren’t able to visualize a masterpiece, or you’re failing to create that moments idea of perfection, focus your attention on the real. Make an image that’s less than perfect. It may not be art today, but years from now it will make a foggy memory clear. You’ll be glad you have it.
I wish you the best on your journey through three hundred and sixty-five days of photographs! Here are some of my very favorites from 2014…