WORK IN PROGRESS
In 2010, I loved taking pictures. I brought my camera everywhere. The only thing that competed with my passion for taking pictures was my love for looking at other people’s pictures. In those days many other photographers were doing 365 projects, which meant that they taking a photograph everyday for one year.
The rules for this project were extremely broad. Many people did self-portraits daily. Unlike the selfie, these photographers would venture out with their DSLRs and ten-second times. They’d prepare by dragging props into the middle of the woods or Photoshopping themselves into insane environments. Other photographers would take landscape images, foodies would photograph their meals, each group was different.
At that time, I was incredibly inspired by Anna Szczekutowicz, who fit into the first group. She traveled to Poland and spent a lot of time in the woods creating self-portraits. Shortly after she finished her project, I decided to start my own.
January of that year, I made my first attempt. Around day 20 I missed a day and decided to start over. Then, I failed again and again for the same reason. My standards were set way too high. Finally in May I started for the last time. I met another photographer named Carolyn Snyder, who pushed me artistically. Her daily comments helped keep me on track.
In May of 2011, I finished my first 365.
Shortly thereafter I deleted most of the photos. I was ashamed at most of the photographs I had taken. They didn’t compare to the other photographers around me. There were fantastic artists who created stunning images daily. Yet, I barely had anything that I was proud of.
A couple weeks ago I decided to start archiving the original images from that 365. I didn’t have a backup of the project and I wanted to make sure that I wouldn’t lose it. As I saved each individual file, I realized that the project drastically improved my photography skills. Each photo was also attached to a memory, which is incredibly valuable.
Other photographers have deleted their FlickrStreams as well. They don’t want to show their images that they aren’t proud of. I get it. Through my 365 I took plenty of cat photos and images that make me blush with embarrassment. These photographs definitely aren’t my best work. But they show progress.
At the beginning, I barely had my own camera. A few months in I bought my first lens (Canon 50mm F/1.4). I didn’t know anything about cameras. I shot everything on auto. Then I got the lens and shot on Aperture Priority (basically auto). Slowly I learned how to photograph myself and others. I learned how to find environments to take pictures in. I learned how to pick up my camera tirelessly and run out to take a picture before the sunset.
I’m posting my 365 because I want others to see that you can start with shitty pictures. In fact, everyone does. We all start by exaggerating contrast or colors or something. Slowly over time you learn how to edit. You learn how to over-expose. Then, eventually, you start taking less shitty pictures. It just takes a while.
Rather than posting all images into one article, I decided to post them into week compilations. For example, week one is day one through day seven of the project. This way, you can navigate through them without seeing 365 pictures instantly. Also without crashing your web browser.
All the original text is posted with each image. While some of the things I said were silly, I feel it necessary to leave included. There is a ridiculous amount of spelling errors. In the world of spell-check I don’t know how it happened but I left those errors there too. Hopefully you can just roll with it.
I’ve posthumously renamed each week, you can click on any of them to get started. Once you’re inside a post, you can navigate to either the previous or the next post. I wish you all the best of browsing. Please excuse me while I blush over how bad some of these pictures are.
Week One (Eric begins by doing yoga in weird places and dragging friends into nettle plants)
Week Two (Then writes things across his pictures and begins taking dark images)
Week Three (He then leaves his room to venture into the woods, which he wouldn’t leave for the next 12 months)
Week Four (Eric learns how to tint his images, and chooses them all to be red)
Week Five (Then forgets how to operate his camera by breaking the shutter)
Week Six (He risks his camera’s life by photographing a water balloon fight with flash, everybody hates him)
Week Seven (Apparently Eric still has friends. Ooooh and a nice kissing picture)
Week Eight (The week starts fancy but degrades quickly to toilet paper and kitchen pictures)
Week Nine (Lightly colored pictures, also known as the moment Eric stops over-saturating him images)
Week Ten (A scanner isn’t a camera but I guess it’s part of your 365 project)
Week Eleven (Fancy black and white pictures for photography class)
Thank you so much for checking this out. This project changed my life and it laid the groundwork for years of photographing. If you want to check out my more recent photography, check out my Flickr or follow me on Facebook.
Three years after completing this project, I completed another 365 project. Instead of taking a picture every day, I blogged. It doesn’t matter what you’re passionate about as long as you’re out there doing what you love. A friend asked me once why I do all this. I told him that I create because it’s what I’m passionate about. Is there any other purpose in life than to follow your passion?