Saturday, January 1, 2011

A summing up of sorts

Now that my "daily practice" or "365" project is finished, I've been reflected on the lessons learned.

Doing the project has certainly connected me more strongly to my surroundings, has made me more aware of quality of light, the interesting lines made by shadows, has made me sensitive to the incredibly rich prospects for making images, has resulted in improved compositional skills. In looking back at the images, I can see certain subjects/themes that arose, some which I will likely pursue more purposefully in the future. I like the fact that these subjects/themes came out of the process naturally, reflecting a sincere conscious or unconscious interest on my part. I also appreciate how doing the project as I did (i.e. blogging daily) encouraged me to think more about some of the philosophical issues of photography, also to think more about why I made certain images and what those images expressed to me, and to write about these thoughts.

There were a few things I didn't like about doing the project. The first was the length - after about 7-8 months, I felt that I had absorbed the various lessons to be learned, and seen the improvement in skills that consistent practice provides. I was ready to abandon the project at that time, suggesting that for me projects spanning about 6 months are more ideal. I also feel that by its very nature, a "365" project imposes a quota mentality - that my focus was in many ways on getting that image done for the day to fulfill the "quota". Finally, because I wanted to keep an up to date blog on the project, I was for the most part using a digital camera, and pretty much have not shot any film (which I love) for the past 6 months (except for our trip to SF). The daily project was not the only reason I haven't been using film recently - the presence of a couple of furry guests who have free-range access to the area where I develop and dry film has made it more difficult to get the films developed and dried in pristine condition.

Overall I think it was a worthwhile exercise. Today I went for a walk by the lake, and I immediately picked up my camera before I headed out the door. I'm pretty sure that I'll have a camera with me every day when I leave the house, a lasting legacy of doing the project.

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