365 x 2
On January 5th, I will complete my second 365 Project – a commitment to take one photograph a day for a year, two years running.
I did not reach perfection in my attempt. There were missed days throughout these 23 months – days when life intervened, when inspiration deserted me, when the camera was no longer my friend. It is hard for me to admit “failure”, being the perfectionist that I am. Especially in a public forum.
But, for me, it was always the intention that mattered – the internal commitment that photography was a critical, and yes, necessary, part of my creative life. And so, I will be gentle with myself. When a day is missed, the important thing is picking up the camera on the day that follows. And I have learned that I really can survive achieving less than 100%.
I have gained so much from this undertaking. Daily practice has been integral to my growth, both technically and creatively. It has challenged me to keep searching, to find new subjects and to see old subjects in new ways. My photographic series were born from within this project. Even on the days when shooting was a chore, a drudgery – especially on those difficult days – the work was always worthwhile. Sometimes surprising. And amazing. And magical.
Like the image above. Taken in the lobby of the movie theatre, of a shiny, brushed metal column. Taken because I had my camera with me. Because I was searching for an opportunity to shoot my daily image; to fulfill my project commitment. Without that, I may have walked by that column without a second glance. And missed the opportunity to create a piece of gleaming wonder.
As the new year approaches, I am considering my creative goals for 2012. The key question: should I begin another 365 Project? On the one hand, I know I respond well to assignments, to meeting internal expectations, to self-motivation. Dedicating myself to this goal keeps photography at the forefront of my consciousness.
But at the same time, I never want to resent photography. I never want to feel like it is a “should” in my life. I want it to come from a place of curiosity and joy and wonder – not a place of “I-must-because-I-made-this-commitment”. When is a goal a challenge toward growth and when does it become a yoke, binding us to duty or obligation?
You see, I’m afraid that if I don’t have this goal, this daily structure, to guide me, I may let photography slip to the sidelines of my life. That I will let it fade in importance. That I will grow lazy about my craft.
So, I imagine I will kick off 2012 with my third 365 Project. With a commitment to every day creativity. To embed photography ever more deeply into my daily lifestyle and routine until it becomes synonomous with who I am. And who I want to become.
Until every year is a 365 Project.