Probably just like the overwhelming majority of people in the world, I ALSO have made some New Year’s resolutions. The biggest one being Project 365.
Like each year, I want to visit the gym more often and finally learn to like to cook healthy meals for myself. I already know that these resolutions will pose a huge challenge for me, because a week has passed and I went to the gym once only and terrorised my boyfriend to cook for me almost every day.
However, there is one more resolution I have undertaken. I shall rather call it “a project” rather than a resolution, because it’s not a mere thought like “eat healthy” but it’s a precise action plan.
What is Project 365?
It’s as easy as that: go out and take at least ONE photo EVERY SINGLE DAY of 2016. Regardless of the weather, mood, workload, overtime, possible diarrhoea, and what not. In a nutshell, shoot against all odds. I am also already sure that I will succeed in sticking to this plan.
What I’ve learned within a week of Project 365?
Year 2016 has fifty two weeks, so one week of the challenge might not look too impressive. However, I have already collected some interesting findings which give me some confidence and faith, that I will have an impressive collection of 365 pictures on December 31st.
Project 365 – just touch the camera!
My motivation for going out and taking photos has been pretty high, but there were two or three days when I didn’t feel particularly creative. There was also nothing that would draw my attention at home and it was way too cold to go out and shoot outside (-13!).
However, as soon as I remembered about project 365 and touched my camera and took a few completely random photos, ideas started to flow.
I have always wanted to finally learn what’s the relationship between aperture and focal length. Why not do it using books I have at home? I have also wanted to finally do some light painting. So I had some fun jumping around with a candle trying to write “FMB” in a complete darkness. I also used my cactus for “portrait” photography since it was way more patient and enthusiastic than my boyfriend.
Conclusions: It’s the FIRST step that is crucial. There’s no use waiting for motivation and muse to come and strike you. It only takes one second to actually make the first damn step and then motivation and ideas come almost effortlessly. This is why I know I’ll make this challenge complete. It only takes a second to touch my camera and let the magic begin.
Project 365 – plan where to go and what to shoot
But you’ll do better photos spontaneously anyway! I can’t tell how many times I had a clear vision of a photo in my head and once I took it, I was rather disappointed. Why does it look so crap while it was SUCH A GREAT idea in my head? And why this other photo I took so spontaneously is actually way more interesting than the one I was planning to take? Every single day of project 365 I went to take photos I was more satisfied with those I hadn’t expected to take.
Eye is a muscle
And it has to be trained, especially for taking photographs. I mean here two things. I am starting to attend anti-ageing face fitness this week because my left eye seems to have more wrinkles than my right eye. So curious why!
Secondly, on day one of the project 365 challenge, I didn’t have many ideas on where to go and what to shoot. When I travel, all the environment is new and it’s so easy to find interesting topics for photos. It’s gets damn difficult to find interesting things in my home town, though! On day 9, I only wanted to visit two, maybe three places to take photos of. And what happened? I ended up on a five-hour long walk and basically walked to places I haven’t been to for good few months! EVERYTHING SEEMED INTERESTING!
Project 365 – tourist in my home town
This point is connected to the one above. I have lived in Poznań for the past eight years and have long stopped to marvel at its beauty and atmosphere. To fulfil the project 365, I was “forced” to go out and explore the nooks and crannies long forgotten. Thanks to that, in the past week, I’ve been to more places in Poznań, than in the past few months altogether. What is even better, I have started to see and feel this city with the freshness I had when I moved in here. Quite incidentally, I have also discovered some really nice places, like a tiny cafe in my neighbourhood or a half-abandoned, run-down tenement house which I will explore even more. I am seeing Poznań as mysterious and captivating yet again and I love that feeling.
Look the people in the eye
I attended a manifestation against the current government on Saturday and was taking photos of other protesters. When I was meandering between the dense crowd, I saw an elderly man with a handmade banner which draw my attention. I looked the man in the eye and took a photo of the banner only. He then approached me and asked if I could take a photo of him, because his friend got sick and could not come so he was alone. He was very friendly, the type of chatty, genteel man who has many stories. He then gave me his worn-down mobile phone, I took the photo, and asked if I could take one with my own camera. He agreed and asked if I was going to publish it anywhere. I said I would love to publish it on my website, but would not do so, if he doesn’t want to. He seemed to want to show his pride that he is manifesting with his own banner, so he eagerly agreed to me posting the photo. The best was that this angry, dangerous man you see below was actually extremely friendly and talkative. It would not have happened if I had stayed home.
It doesn’t matter what camera you have
It’s officially the biggest bullshit I have ever read. There are plenty of articles and books on how to take good photos without having a good camera and I have no idea what’s the point of deluding people with this lie. My opinion is that it’s hardly possible to take good photos without owing at least a decent camera. Before I got my first camera ever (Sony DSC H-7) when I was around 17 years old, the term “photography” didn’t even exist in my mind. It changed when I first saw bokeh, made rather incidentally. I liked it so much, I decided to learn more. I even read one or two books, which made me frustrated because with my digital camera, I could not do the tricks described there. Now, after years of shooting with the good, old Pentax K-10, I upgraded to Pentax K-50 and have two lenses, Pentax DA 18-55 mm, f 3.5 – 5.6 and Sigma 70-300mm, f 4 – 5.6 and it makes the whole universe of the difference. It’s like saying that flying a balloon and an airplane can give you the same effect. True – maybe you can fly the balloon over the Atlantic, but it will take you significantly more time and you anyway won’t be able to reach the average height a Dreamliner.
Bye, bye comfort zone!
I don’t know why but I don’t feel comfortable taking photos in Poznan without any particular reason (like Saturday’s manifestation). I have an eerie feeling that people are looking at me and thinking why this dumbass is taking a photo of a puddle in the street! On day one of project 365, I took the photos rather hurriedly and candidly. Yesterday, on day 8, I didn’t even hesitate before I walked in the middle of the bike lane on one of the most busy streets in Poznan, shortly before 8 am when crowds of people were waiting for a tram. I just didn’t care at all. Same today. I fear where it will lead me by end of the year. :X
Why did I decide to complete the Project 365?
Some of you might have read my summary of 2015 and know that it wasn’t the best year of my life. I want to make a conscious change in 2016 by making each day of 2016 meaningful. I know there aren’t many spectacular events ahead, so I want to stay focused on daily life and learn to notice the good things around me especially on usual days. I want to turn the bleak into colourful and remember what I did every day. In short, I want to make out the most of my life and documenting it is a great tool on my way to reach this goal.
Has anybody else of you done that or something similar? I know some people are recording 1 second of their lives every day and later make out short videos out of it. Anyone?