In early January, I embarked on my second Project 365. And yes, even this early in the process, there have been missed days – days where life or the weather or my own lack of creativity meant no image for the day. And yet, the next day, camera in hand, I try again, working to incorporate this new-found gift as a daily practice in my life.
Sometimes, it seems like just another burden. It’s 5 pm and I still haven’t taken my daily photo. Outside, low storm clouds threaten. The light is flat and gray. I simply cannot face another walk around the block, trying to find something of interest to frame in my viewfinder. Instead, I walk around the house, searching for something, anything, that might make an interesting photograph, something that will allow me to fulfill this commitment that I have made to myself. At this point, that’s all it is – an obligation.
But then, my eyes light on the old-fashioned glass straw holder that my Mom gave me. I take off the metal lid and look inside. The plastic drink straws make an interesting composition inside the cylinder of glass. A little twinge of excitement pings. I quickly set up a make-shift studio. I play with lighting and various compositions. I take out the straws, concentrating on the abstract nature of the glass and the way the light reflects and refracts along its curves. A burden no more, I am simply caught up in the creative process, experimenting, playing, seeing. In post-processing, I discover that the image has taken on new meanings – perhaps a scientific experiment or a snowflake as seen under the microscope. I tweak the colors, crop the image, and explore various effects. And then it is complete. Today’s photo.
At this point, I understand the reasons why I have committed to making photography part of my daily life. Even on those days when I have to force myself to pick up the camera. It isn’t about whether the result is a fantastic or memorable image but rather the thrill within that quiet moment of discovery, when something new is seen. Because sometimes, magic does happen.