Every year around this time I hear about it. “Are you going to do it?” one blog asks, “I’m on 350!” the next one proclaims. It’s become so well-known that a simple “365” is enough to gain understanding in almost any photography forum.
The explanation for Project 365 is as easy as you think- take (at least) one picture a day, for an entire year. I’ve always felt a weird mix of envy and disbelief for people who manage to complete it. The truth is, I don’t shoot every day (running a photography business sadly requires much more time at the computer then it does at the camera.) Truth is, I’ve always been terrible at things involving an every day commitment. For a week, sure. For a month, maybe. An entire year? Of taking pictures, when you’re sitting in front of your computer screen, feeling completely uninspired, and submit yet another photograph of your coffee mug to the photo stream?
It’s easy to wonder how something like that could be helpful. Like NaNoWriMo, the project has its fair share of detractors who bring up the point that quantity cannot replace quantity, that the 75th photograph of your feet and the 100th photograph of your computer screen is not developing art for art’s sake. They have a point. But while 365 might not produce a masterpiece even half of the time, it is very useful for one very important thing. It will make you think about photography, even when you’re not thinking about photography, when you’re not in the mood, when you’re looking at the same landscape you see every night and wondering how you can possibly see it differently. It teaches you to work with what you have to create something different. It might not always be successful, but that’s ok- it’s more about working through the process than the end result.
Want to try it yourself? There are groups on flickr, helpful articles everywhere you look. Take it from my guess, there are two key points to succeeding at this- the first is to find people to keep you doing it. It’s easier to stop when no one notices if you do or not. The second, is having a camera with you every day, and taking a picture of anything you can see. Be it with your phone, a p&s, dslr, or even a polaroid, though that would get expensive as the year goes on. Without a camera constantly nearby, you never know what shots you’ll miss, what time you’ll have to take a picture later, and it’s easier to miss the main point of the project- looking through the lens.
So… am I going to do it this year? Well. Maybe. But as I said, every-day commitments are not my strong point. If I tried to make it straight through, my guess is that I would last until Friday before slacking off the first time. So, maybe it won’t be a TRUE 365 for me, and I’m OK with that. However, I am going to try to take a picture a day. And if I miss one or three at a time, well, no one will be surprised. And no, they won’t be masterpieces. But I’m hoping that even if I don’t have the persistence to take a photograph a day, I will have the motivation to experiment a couple of times a week, and have something relatively consistent to show for it.
Want to follow me? I will only be posting my best photographs to the blog. In the meantime, if you want to follow me every day (or join along!) I will be posting my photos at shuttercal– day one is already there. Feel free to join and keep me company. :)