Originally Published January 6th, 2019
On June 1st 2018, I Began a 365 Project
Here were the parameters:
- Take a photo each day
- Post the photo online each day for accountability purposes
- Photos must be taken with a real camera—not a phone (sorry phone shooters)
- Self Portraits every Sunday
- Only Black & White images
A couple things impacted the 5th parameter. I started developing Black & White film around the same time that I started the project. I wanted to limit myself in order to adjust to shooting black & white film. I didn’t realize that throughout the process, I would limit my instagram account to ONLY BW photos for the entire year.
Secondly, I was reading Ansel Adams’ Autobiography & researching other photographers such as Robert Frank & Elliott Erwitt which inspired me to shoot BW for a year.
I still shoot color—A friend recently pointed out that some images have to be in color in order to fully communicate what is happening. I agree. She also told me, “Your life isn’t in black and white, it’s in color.” I loved that she told me that, and I agree with that too.
Black & White is simply a restriction that I’ve placed on myself in order to explore other aspects of photography—shadows, textures, grain, & moods etc. I still shoot color, but my daily practice is in Black & White.
Here are a few reasons why I chose to do the 365 project:
To Create A Habit
They say you can create a habit if you do something consistently for 30 days. I wanted to create the habit of always having a camera with me at all times.
“You put your camera around your neck along with putting on your shoes, and there it is, an appendage of your body that shares your life with you. The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without the camera.” —Dorothea Lange
To Train My Eyes
Restricting myself to only black & white has taught me to train my eyes in a different way. I’m excluding color & focusing on shadows, lines, textures, depth, grain, mood etc. I read somewhere that as a photographer, you can create your own reality through your images. Its fun for me to create this dark & mysterious world—photos that make the viewer do a second take.
“As a photographer, you can create your own reality through your images. Its fun for me to create this dark & mysterious world—photos that make the viewer do a second take.”
Practice the Craft of Street & Documentary Photography
In the past couple of years I’ve become infatuated by street & documentary photography. I wanted a reason to practice the craft everyday in order to build my skills as a photographer.
“There is no talent. There’s no success. There’s only work. Ask for nothing and do it every day.” —Daniel Arnold
To Document An Entire Year of My Life
The idea of recording an entire year seemed really interesting to me. Maybe I can make a book with the images after, maybe I’ll continue on, I haven’t gotten that far yet.
To Make Life More Interesting
I’ve noticed that having a camera with me everywhere I go makes life a lot more interesting. If I get bored somewhere, I just pull out my camera and look for something to shoot. It’s like I’m always hunting for something. It also forces me to be more present in the situations I’m in, I’m always paying attention, looking, feeling, & searching for deeper meaning.
To Practice Developing Black & White Film
Not all of my 365 photos are shot with film, but some of them are. Its really cool to shoot half/entire roll of film, develop it on the same day, scan, edit, post. It’s like a photography marathon. I don’t get the chance to do it very often but when I do, it’s very rewarding.
I’m currently on day 220. There have been some days and even entire weeks when the process was very difficult. I’ve had to learn new skills in order to meet my goals. I use my camera’s wifi abilities almost on a daily basis, whereas I had never really used them before. I learned how to edit my images on my phone with apps like Snapseed, Photoshop/Lightroom Express. I carry a camera (or two or three) wherever I go.
The 365 project has brought a lot of joy to my life. It’s allowed me to capture some very meaningful moments and share them with my family and friends. I absolutely do not regret taking on the challenge and in fact, I’m looking for new daily or weekly challenges to strive for.
I challenge you to take up a daily practice. Even if its only for a week, a month, six months—try it out.
My wife Ashley just started a 30 day Yoga challenge!
Start a blog challenge, an eating challenge, a meditation challenge. Walk your dog for 30 days straight, read a chapter of a book a day, the possibilities are endless—just pick something.
The thing about working on a daily practice is that it’s often very hard at the beginning but soon you will gain momentum—momentum rules. We all have the ability to transform ourselves from our current state to a being of unlimited potential. Start where you are now—at the end you’ll be a better version of yourself.
Shout out to my artist friend @aleks7even—seeing his 365 coffee project on instagram inspired me to take on my own creative challenge. Thanks Aleks!