366 Day Photo Project: A Retrospective in Pictures

Just over a year ago, a friend suggested she wanted a project, and so decided to embark on a 365 day photo project: a plan to take at least one photo every day. I agreed to join her, and then added an extra. I would post each photo on a Tumblr account, the premise being that this would make me accountable and therefore force me to finish the project. On Tuesday, I took the final photo.

The project started well enough, and even had moments of what might be regarded as “actual photography”. By far the best days were the ones where I dusted-off the slightly neglected Nikon and went out on a mission to get some photos.

But processing photos in Aperture on a daily basis isn’t something I had planned for. Fortunately, another Apple product came to the rescue in the form of my phone and the accompanying Tumblr app. This, I had reasoned, would make life much easier – a few taps and my daily masterpiece (or whichever term you prefer for “Another Photo of a Lamp”) would be done and online. A daily reminder, set for the sensible time of 7pm, would mean no excuses.

As ever, this didn’t quite work out. Reminders are easy to forget, and even easier to ignore. Many photos were taken at 11pm, hence the surfeit of lamp, table and “texture” photos with suspicious time stamps.

Amongst the strange pictures of random objects scattered around my room, are there shots I am happy with? Yes. Almost exclusively these were taken with my actual camera rather than my phone, and a few of them even made it onto my Flickr account.

But was it worth it, and would I recommend it? Hard to say. I’m pleased I got to day 366 (an extra day due to the leap year). Despite this, I’m very glad the project is over. The main lesson was that photography takes time, and can’t be done in the same way you might happen to do the washing up on a daily basis. It needs precision, practice and patience. An 11pm dash every night for a year will never make you a better photographer, just as running to catch the bus everyday probably won’t mean you can compete in a marathon.

If you decide to do the project, don’t resort to your phone, and make sure you have the time. You don’t have to post the results to the Internet, so save the time for taking the photo itself. I honestly believe a photo a week (or even a photo a month) would be more satisfying. The project adds “another thing to do”, and it can feel like a chore getting in the way of long term side projects. It can be great fun if you spend time on it, but as always in life, it shouldn’t be rushed for the sake of it. I won’t be doing the project again – at least not in a hurry. But I took away many lessons, and the odd photo. So that’s certainly something to be happy with.

NB: For some reason day 366 was posted on July 3rd 2012, but day 1 was July 1st 2011. I’m not quite sure what happened here, but suspect I accidentally counted a few days twice when uploading to Tumblr.