Photography 365 Project (Masterlist)

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. 18:365

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)

Week Twelve

Week Thirteen

Week Fourteen

Week Fifteen

Week Sixteen

Week Seventeen

Week Eighteen

Week Nineteen

Week Twenty

Week Twenty One

Week Twenty Two

Week Twenty Three

Week Twenty Four

Week Twenty Five

Week Twenty Six

Week Twenty Seven

Week Twenty Eight

Week Twenty Nine

Week Thirty

Week Thirty One

Week Thirty Two

Week Thirty Three

Week Thirty Four

Week Thirty Five

Week Thirty Six

Week Thirty Seven

Week Thirty Eight

Week Thirty Nine

Week Forty

Week Forty One

Week Forty Two

Week Forty Three

Week Forty Four

Week Forty Five

Week Forty Six

Week Forty Seven

Week Forty Eight

Week Forty Nine

Week Fifty

Week Fifty One

Week Fifty Two

 

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?

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A Joy That You Cannot Contain

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This image was taken almost two years ago when I traveled for my third and final time to Basque Country. There were fiestas every night for the summer throughout the entire Basque state. Many nights we would go out to the parties and hang out with friends. This image was from a party in the village I lived in: Ea.

The fiesta started early and the streets were filled with people dressed in costumes. To an American it looked like a summer Halloween. Everyone took time out of their day to come out to the streets and celebrate Basque culture.

Songs and dances filled the air. Even greater was the joy that radiated from the crowd. All of the hardships, losses, and stress were surrendered. For this moment, everyone was together and alive.

This photograph has a lot of meaning to me because the main subject was an older woman whose joy radiated like sunbeams. She was jumping and moving more than any other person. You could feel her joy in the air, as if it were reaching out to those surrounding her. She danced on the tips of her toes and she wasn’t part of this world anymore. She was something greater.

Often I struggle with stress and a goal of mine is to live more like this culture. I want to find that happiness within myself and bring it out to the world. There is no greater joy than to feel truly alive. When I found this picture, a smile broadened across my face. Let that be my goal for this week – to express that bubbling joy within myself and share that love with the world around me.

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Decisions Will Eat You Up

This is a continuation of posts written back at myself. They’re not intended to entertain but rather to speak to myself. If you find the content relative to your life and what you’re going through, great. The point of these posts is to express this out of my system.

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There will be points in your life where you could walk on 15 different roads. None of them lead to the same place. None of them are better than their alternatives. Yet we always look for the best option. I find myself guilty of stopping at every forklift to contemplate where each direction will take me.

These forklifts almost tear me in half with where they potentially could lead. I’ll sit for days on the most rudimentary decision. Or wait another ten minutes to reply with the perfect response. The silly thing is that this added wait time doesn’t contribute to a better result. More often than not, it’s just a waste of time.

Tim Ferriss has a podcast where he talked a bit about this. Procrastinating what you truly need to do is a waste of time. The advice he transcribed says that we should write a list of our greatest anxieties. Those are the things which we need to carry out the most. These rudimentary decisions I need to make are all about avoidance.

I’ve avoided stupid things like calling the cable company to set up internet (because I hate phone calls), taking photos (because I’d have to buy Adobe CC again), and getting a new car (because there’s so much hassle in buying something). Believe me, the list goes on way beyond this.

Many days I’ll just go for walks to kill time. The truth is, I don’t really have time to kill. There are so many things that I need to take care of that going for a walk is just avoiding what I really need to do.

Sylvia Plath once wrote a poem about a fig tree. She saw all these potentials growing out in front of her but she couldn’t just choose one. If she chose one, that meant she wasn’t choosing the rest. Instead of picking one and enjoying it, she sat at the base of the tree and all the figs fell dead at her feet.

I have no idea how to say this to you but you need to make decisions. The things that are important to you are disappearing and it’s because of your simple fears like making phone calls that you’re not achieving what you want to. Everybody struggles with procrastination but I fear I am a master of it.

If I delay too long I will run out of time!

200/365

The Beginning of Blogging

Waking up to my 100th day in Charleston tomorrow is going to be strange. Ever since I’ve started this 365 project the days have flown by. Tomorrow will also mark the 200th day of this project and I feel forced to re-evaluate the reasons why I started blogging. After all, I’ve spent more time blogging than I care to admit and to an audience that I could count on my left hand. The point of this post isn’t going to be to entertain. I just want to write this one for me.

The whole project originates back in 2009, when I first ran across Anna Szczekutowicz‘s work on Flickr. She was a younger photographer at the time and I found her work around 100 days into what she called a 365 project. It’s where she took a photograph everyday and posted it on the site. There usually wasn’t much writing but man were her photos breath-taking.

By 2010 I had decided to do my own photography 365 project. I tried it, usually only making it to day 20 before giving up. On my 6th try I made it all the way through. Another artist named Carolyn Snyder helped motivate me and kept me accountable for my posts. Around this time Anna took down her photo-stream and I felt like somebody had ripped a carpet out from under me. Removing your original inspiration leaves you with a hole and forces you to see what truly motivates you.

What I found motivational turned out to be my need for expression. The project gave me an outlet to get away from the world and do my thing. While it was escapism at the best, I found I grew more with photography than anything else in my life. The bug had bit me and I was forced to scratch that itch for years.

My project completed in early 2011 with no hiccups. Photography coursed through my blood at this point and seemed to be the only path I had. Many of my friend knew me because they saw me carrying a camera around. I had shot a dozen senior photos and most of my friends had modeled for me during the 365 project. I lived and breathed art.

Another great inspiration at the time was Linus Hui of Linus & the Feel Good Factory. He completed three 365 projects and evolved my concept of the project. Linus’ art was photography but it had a different take. Instead of just being a beautiful photograph, he included paper crafts that he designed. In addition, at the bottom of his posts, he wrote a tutorial on how to be or do something. “How to fake interest in conversations or on dates” was just the fourth day of his 3rd project.

What Linus showed me was that there really aren’t any rules on a 365 project. When I worked on my photography 365, I was strict and wanted a full year of only images. After that, I realized that art was so much greater than the limitations that we place on it. Restricting myself to taking photographs produced a portfolio but it didn’t satisfy my creative itch. I need something more.

I spent years looking for what that scratch might be. I delved into a 90-day project (like Anna’s) and found no satisfaction.Producing art had always given me fulfillment but I couldn’t figure out why it stopped. Perhaps this is something all artists face occasionally.

2012 was a great year because I finally found something that satisfied me. At this time, the photography community shifted from a photo-sharing site (Flickr) to Facebook. Involvement with up-and-coming photographers on Flickr gave me the ability to be friends with photographers on Facebook and interact with them on a personal level. These interactions lead me to becoming active on WordPress.com, where I could interview and write about artists.

The most satisfaction came from writing about artists and reviewing their work. This time bore “The Anatomy of a Dreamer“, “The Memory Get-ter“, “Navel Oranges“, “Eric Albee” (original personal blog), as well as many other projects. The inspiration that lead other artists to create inspired me. I suddenly understood why people create and I felt it again in a greater sense.

Mid-2012 I changed career fields and spend June and July immersed in training. I didn’t have access to the outside world until September and I was so wrecked from training that I didn’t know who I was anymore. The damage the training incurred made me have to reconstruct who I was and who I wanted to be.

Blogging came back naturally in slow increments. I experimented with other mediums like painting and vlogging as a way to figure out who I was. Inspiration came sporadically and I didn’t have very much time to myself. The nights I spent painting were often concluded with a sigh and a lack of satisfaction. The skill I desired needed more time than I had to give to it. I wanted to be good at these things but I couldn’t spend 10 hours learning a new skill each day.

The interesting thing is that although I didn’t feel satisfied, I still felt compelled to create. Something drove me to go to art and I couldn’t explain it at the time.

Stress ruined me from September to October and I turned to many Buddhist texts. I found that the advice I read could relieve a couple of hours of stress and give me an emotional break. Essentially these books helped me rebuild myself. Everyday I woke up and dreaded going to work. I would come home after 9 hours and cry in the shower or sob on the phone seeking consolation. Books like “The Power of Now” taught me coping mechanisms and released the clamp I felt I had on my head.

In October I met another artist who lived in the same building as me. We shared our frustrations and meeting him released a lot of stress. Suddenly I knew that I wasn’t alone and that other people suffered through the same things that I did. We spent a lot of time talking about art and just hanging out. It was good to physically know an artist.

I was forced to move away from that friend in October.  I didn’t have anyone to have deep conversations with anymore. Blogging filled that hole and shifted purposes. It gave me a way to create a monologue of what I wanted to say. Although there wasn’t conversation, I was able to express myself again.

Around the end of November I had an emotional charge about censorship. I couldn’t contain myself and it was like a last burst before I started blogging regularly. The truth is that I’ve blogged since my 2010 trip to Spain. It wasn’t until this emotion charge that I felt compelled to write more often and with purpose.

December 2nd I decided to start another 365 project. Instead of taking photographs everyday I wanted to write. It didn’t matter what I wrote about as long as it was 100 words every day. My job couldn’t take my life away from me and I wanted to prove that to myself. I was an artist and it was in my soul to create.

That unnerving lack of satisfaction I dealt with disappeared. Even though I didn’t have my camera or the equipment I could produce something that was my own. Days passed by and I had writing to prove that I was alive. No longer did I feel totally repressed.

After about 15 days I knew the project was going to stick. The words started off philosophical and my posts revolved around dealing with stress. These were things I knew and could easily write about. I was recording my life at one of the most stressful times I had ever experienced and sharing that with everyone.

As the year concluded my mother flew down to visit for Christmas. When the holidays were over,  the stress about work changed to homesickness and loneliness. I felt alone again and I wanted my old life back. My blog reflected this with about 20 posts about missing my cat and house.

The reason I started my 365 was to relieve this stress and to talk about it. Perhaps blogging was more of a conversation with myself than it was with anyone else. Photography was an expression that other people could appreciate even if they didn’t understand the message. Blogging is very different. It was direct and a tool I needed to rebuild a broken Eric.

As time progressed blogging documented my life events rather than hopeful Buddhist advice. When a boy unexpectedly kissed me in class, I wrote about it. Going home was a huge time for me, so I spent a week writing about it. Finishing training was a huge event. Moving to Charleston on day 100 was a huge life change. Becoming involved with another openly gay guy here lifted me up through 5 posts (and shoved me back down afterwards with 10 posts). Blogging was a way to digest everything that was happening.

As tomorrow marks day 200 out of 365 days, I really have to look at why I blog. Is there purpose to write for another 165 days? The answer is obvious; yes.

Blogging means so much to me; It records my life at any given moment it allows me to digest thoughts and things that I’m thinking about regularly, it opens my eyes towards what I’m doing with my life. Blogging reminds me that I still have some say over what’s happening. It gives me the opportunity to share my passions and experiences with other people. I feel human after writing. Blogging gives me something to share. It is medicinal after a heartbreak. Writing this fuels a fire within that I cannot put out. I feel compelled to create everyday and I haven’t found anything that satisfies me greater than caving in to that desire.

That is why I blog.

199/365

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I apologize for how long this post became. This past year has been filled with a lot of emotions and I didn’t want to restrain why I blog. That would almost be self-defeating. If you made it this far, thank you for reading. I really urge you to start your own blog over at WP.com. It’s life-changing, free, and will take you only 10 minutes to learn.

Exploring Folly Beach

Last weekend my family was in town and we got out to Folly Beach, South Carolina! It was beautiful weather and a great place to hang out for our last full day together. We spent the day taking pictures, walking around, and getting great food!

I’ve realized now that so much of my passion comes from creating! Whether the content be great or less, I enjoy producing work. Editing in Premier is still a beast but I’m starting to tame it. Slowly but surely, I’ll learn how to vlog!

It was also fantastic opening Photoshop back up and editing in something that I’m familiar in. It’s almost intuitive with how used to Photoshop I got over the years. Below the video are a few pictures that I took of my sister and dad while we were on the beach!

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Just keep vlogging, just keep vlogging…

What do we do?
We just keep vlogging.

EveryoneWanders.com is offically a thing now! I just renewed TheAnatomyofaDreamer.com and decided to spontaneously purchase this domain as well! Eventually I’ll move towards WordPress.ORG, but for now I don’t feel like hosting myself.

Exciting things are coming up this weekend! I’m going to try to awkwardly embarrass my sister and dad by walking the streets of downtown Charleston while talking to you guys on YouTube! Don’t worry, there’ll probably be food and busy streets. If you’ve never been here, maybe you’ll want to come after you see what it’s like!

In other new, my trial of Photoshop CS2 expires next week and I’ll have to make the decision if I want to purchase a Creative Cloud subscription or not. It’ll be amazing to have the actual Premier Pro, rather than Premier Elements. I cannot even fathom what Photoshop CS6 would be like to use. If you have any experience with Adobe’s CC, what are your experiences? Do you think it’s worth it to have the subscription?

Well, I have to get to bed for another long day tomorrow! I’ll write you all again tomorrow!

P.S. I think my official title should become Blogger/Vlogger/Photog-r. It feels like it fits.

116/365 Blogging

2/14 Vlogging

0/0 Photogging

No-Mind Language

No mind is the condition when thoughts pass through your head but you don’t place any attention on them. Eventually it’s as if there are no thoughts because what you are taking in through your senses at the moment are more important than your thoughts about it.

Think about a Hawaiian sunset, how catching it is and how beautiful. When you see something very beautiful like that, it’s as if everything else vanishes from your life except what is in front of you. It’s as if your life has peripherals and you spend more time staring at the peripherals than what’s directly in the moment.

Basically no mind is this condition of the absence of thought. It’s like a clearing where you can direct your attention and make thoughts arise as needed. You can act more efficiently and get more out of life.

Much of no mind comes from removing your desire to label everything. This coffee is cold or the palm trees are beautiful. While neither assertion is incorrect or bad, we spend too much of our time labeling things that don’t need to be labeled.

Ponder this for a moment; why do we need to say something is hot or cold inside our heads. We can just accept that our drink is what it is without labeling it. We can look at the sunset without the desire to try to make it tangible. We can walk across the sand and feel the sand without the need to call it soft or hot. We can just leave things at their experience or sensation.

Much of this leans into language. For example, we make action more tangible when we explain what we’re doing. I can go through the process of walking over and picking up a glass of water without thinking about walking over and picking the glass up. We have a fixation on words.

Like I wrote before, there is nothing inherently wrong with words. However, we passively label everything in our lives. This is too hot, too artificial, interesting, boring, great, horrible. We don’t spend enough time without these words.

As I’ve started to study Danish, I learn by labeling the things in my life. For example my friend turns into min ven. After learning many words to describe the objects around my dormitory I realized that I do this in the English language as well. My mind constantly speaks to my body. “Let’s go for a walk”, “I’m hungry”. Rather than making these expressions tangible I could just do them.

It’s difficult to explain but I think by labeling everything, we remove so much of the experience. By saying the sunset is beautiful, we reduce it to a word that is too generic to describe the experience of that sunset. Extravagant, or unique cannot do it justice.

These things which are conversations in our head “wow, that sunset is beautiful” are going nowhere. We are literally thinking them to ourselves. Because we are only thinking them and not communicating with somebody else, we mental reduce our experiences to generic words. We reduce them to much less than the experience of it.

Instead of labeling things, we should just feel them. The sensation of them and what it’s like to experience it. If someone asks, reduce it into language. But if you’re trying to remember something in your head, remember it for it’s sensation and not it’s descriptors.

Experience things as they are, don’t label everything.

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