1000 Days and counting

“You do learn things, and one of them is that happiness has nothing to do with validation from other people. The important thing is being happy with yourself. Finding something that is important to you and sticking with it, no matter what anyone says.”

Kurt Cobain
Day 777

So much was happening when I reached day 1000 of my 365 challenge, that it was glossed over.

I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on what reaching this goal has meant to me, and share what I’ve learned.

I want to preface this by saying it’s not a “pat myself on the back” post—or some sort of tog flex. This is an introspection into the past 1000 days—and I’m coming at this from the same melancholy feeling one gets upon returning from a long trip.

Day 976

I realize some readers would rather “eat their fish sticks and move along”. So as a courtesy, I’ve condensed this post into bullet points.

Here is what I learned from taking a photo every day for 1000 days:

  1. I’m not really better at taking photos, but I view photography differently now.
  2. Boy, do I have a lot of photos of my dogs and other stuff.
  3. Discipline equals development—or whatever—etc.
  4. It’s been real—peace out (I have a journal now).
  5. Friends are important.
  6. You don’t know til’ ya try.
  7. Call to action/upsell

For those of you who would like more tartar sauce on your fish sticks—continue:

I am not necessarily a better photographer, but I am not the same photographer

Day 465

When I started this daily ritual back in June of 2018, I had several goals in mind. Most of these goals have either failed, or been forgotten. In their place are new goals, or a lack there of.

For example, at one point in my life, I wanted to pursue photography as an occupation. The more I studied, practiced, and learned—the more it became clear that this was not the path for me.

Day 1016

I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”

Henry David Thoreau

As cliche as it may sound, photography is simply a way of life. It’s a way to magnify my experiences, to wrestle life into a corner, to hold each moment in my hand like a photograph, to “suck out all the marrow out of life“.

{roles eyes poetically}

This has become my photographic philosophy.

It’s not about megapixels, or camera lenses, or G.A.S, or any of the technical stuff. Give me time with friends & a disposable camera—and I’ll squeeze their bones.

Why so much black & white? Because color photography is all about color (failed attempt at Dad joke). Black and white photography focuses more on the soul.

Day 754

I now have a giant archive to use at my disposal

The goal of my 365 challenge was to stop and take a photo—whenever I saw something interesting, or meaningful, or playful, or funny, or ironic etc.

Day 864
Day 1034

Well, I didn’t just take one photo—I took many.

1000 days of many photos equals many thousands of photos.

Some of my daily photos suck (cough**most of them**cough). Some are great documentation of things I would like to look back on (so that serves a purpose). Some of the images are actually cool—and I suppose I’ll use them for future projects.

If I had a dime for every shadow selfie or photograph of my dogs—I’d have a lot of change in my underwear drawer.

Day 835
Day 809

Discipline is the path to development

“Every habit and capability is confirmed and grows in its corresponding actions, walking by walking, and running by running. Therefore, if you want to do something, make a habit of it.”

Epictetus

It’s a simple recipe.

If you want to do something, then do it, every day—develop a habit. What we do on a daily basis ultimately becomes who we are.

If you want to cultivate an attitude of fear, loathing, & disparity—read the headlines every day.

Day 464

If you want to write—writeand so on ad infinitum.

After I reach the 3 year mark of my 365 challenge—day 1096—I’ll be moving on to other daily rituals.

Some I’ve already begun. I’m not sure if I wish to share at this point. Some things you should keep to yourself. Like the Vonnegut, “poem under the bed” quote.

Which brings me to my next point. Who do you want to become? I’ve been asking myself this question lately—and it’s causing me to change some aspects of my daily routine.

I Think I Want To Disappear

We’ve all seen people abandoning social media for various reasons.

For me, social media—specifically instagram, is like screaming into an enormous recycling bin and hoping that somehow, a love letter will fall out.

It feels empty to me—void of meaning in many cases.

Day 755

Don’t get me wrong—I enjoy Instagram and I learn a lot from several accounts that I follow. But overall—I’m just tired of people trying to sell me something.

So much of our attention is stolen by hidden tailored advertisements. If you start to look for this sort of thing—it becomes amazing how much we are continuously bombarded.

It’s not just that—the whole internet age has coerced us into marketing ourselves—we’re taught to share every aspect of our lives. We become these walking billboard signs—like some type of neon clad dystopian future.

If this is your goal, then great—kudos. It’s just not my thing. Maybe I’m just listening to too many David Foster Wallace interviews.

Of course as artists—we all want attention. But at what cost?

At this point—I feel like I’d rather be pursing a simpler life. I’m just not interested in building a following, or turning my life into some sort of money making machine. Every time I try to sell myself—I’m overwhelmed by feelings of inauthenticity.

Day 765

I’m so full of worms—I have no business trying to tell other people how to live their life. It was never really my goal. I just want an outlet for my thoughts, the things I’m learning—another way to wrestle life into a corner.

At the beginning of the year, I made it a goal to write more—pen to paper—meaning physical writing. Busting out the whiteout, the note pads, and the nice pens. In photography terms—I’m going analog. I’d like to hand write more letters—journal—etc. I’d like to find print publications to submit work—rather than relying on social media to express myself.

I’d like to connect with people in a more meaningful and authentic way—which brings me to my next point.

Without Community—You Have Nothing

Day 950
Day 840

The greatest gift that I’ve received from this challenge are the friendships that I’ve made. I’ve met people from all around the world—through the shared love of photography.

These relationships have made the past 3 years worth it and I hope to continue cultivating them as time carries on.

One Last Thing—”The Only Decision You Can Make, Is that you did it”

“It is good to be several floors up, in the dead of night, wondering whether I am good enough, and the only decision you can make, is that you did it.”

Frank O’Hara, Lunch Poems
Day 449

I had no idea where this would take me—where starting a blog would take me—where having a photography business would take me etc.

I just did it.

Looking back—I don’t regret any of my creative endeavors—I just regret that I didn’t try others.

So as this challenge slowly winds down to an end—it’s the beginning of my next challenge—or series of challenges.

Life is too short. I don’t want to look back on how I spent my time and realize that I was living out someone else’s life.

Henry Miller said, “To make living an art—that is the goal.”

The things I’ve learned from having a daily photography challenge—are stretching their tentacles, and grasping on to other aspects of my life. I see as a photographer. I find myself stopping and framing a moment, even if I don’t have a camera.

What a joy, what a tool to have—to see, to feel, to stop and notice the beauty all around. Why would I stop here?

Why not view life as a writer, a poet, a musician, a painter—etc? What other tools can I add to my kit—to make living itself, an art?

Day 667

follow my 365 challenge on instagram here #timmys365challenge

3 Comments

  1. I’ve been a quiet follower of your blog for some time now. Your posts and photographs resonate with me with raw honesty in words and photos. I gave up instagram and FB about 18 months ago for the same reasons you are wrestling with now “the whole internet age has coerced us into marketing ourselves”. That was never my intent and I was tired of adverts being pushed on me. I’ve not regretted the decision. Sometimes I have wondered whether there is any point in even blogging https://abrightspot.blog/2020/04/07/why-blog/ It does give me an outlet for personal development though and affords me the ability to find genuine blogs of other creatives. There are still days I’d like to quietly disappear but that discipline to ‘chip away’ at improving myself, regardless of feedback, is what keeps me going. AND I have been encouraged by blogs of people like yourself. I do have stacks of paper journals too but find keeping something organised online is a bit more flexible. I wish you well, whatever your decision.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the kind and thoughtful comment. It’s interactions like this that make what we do worth it. Whether it’s writing, or sharing photos—ultimately this is all about making a connection with others. Thank you for sharing your thoughts & photos! I read a few of your posts and I really enjoyed them. Your images are absolutely beautiful and your writing inspires me to become a better communicator. Surprisingly, I’m not very active on the blog side of my website (in terms of interactions). But I do plan on using this more, rather than scrolling mindlessly on other outlets. Cheers & happy shooting 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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