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365 project - some thoughts after a little over 150 days

Somewhere in the middle of 2015 I realised that I am not taking pictures regularly. The thing which I really really enjoyed was taking portraits in the ambient light, usually outside. This calls for a model, a helper to manage the light reflector and couple of hours of free time - most preferrably - around the golden hour. Unfortunately - only in this particular line of argument - I have this thing called "a day job" and, as much as I really enjoy it, it is particularly engaging and time consuming. The same holds true for most of the people whom I shoot and who help us- they are usually my fellow scientists and are as busy as I am. So.. Scheduling photoshoots around the time of the golden hour is not happening every week. Count in all possible excuses in the world and they are not happening even on a monthly basis. This was a bit discouraging. Taken together with absorbing work I ended up not putting time and effort in photography for the most part of the year. And.. It actually made me feel a bit miserable.

But then.. In the beginning of August 2015, I've stumbled upon Tookapic - new Polish-based website fully focused on curating 365 projects. I wasn't thinking much. I've immediately seen it as a potential way to take pictures more regularly and maybe try out new things.

Today, after 152 days of the challenge I have a couple of thoughts.

1. Great community. I definitely feel it was a good idea to enter. At the moment the website was fairly fresh and there were not too many people taking the challenge. This created a unique environment where it was possible to catch up with all the pictures taken every day and comment on them. For the first time I felt a bit like I'm a part of a photo community. Other websites where I uploaded photos so far, like 500px and Flickr, are simply too big for such an experience.

2, Trying out new things. The project has pushed me to try new things, such as knolling or cloning people in photoshop or simply approaching people who are not my friends for taking a picture. I always wanted to take a picture of things ordered nicely against each other but I always thought I will do some time later. What my 365 project helped me with, was giving me opportunity to try things out simply because a photo has to be taken every day.

Always wanted to take a shot like this. So why not taking it?
I watched a video on cloning and instantly had an idea for this picture. The troubles of PhD.

3. Stress relief. My daily job is sometimes stressful and demanding. Which one isn't?

Deadlines, juggling multiple projects, presentations, sometimes failures (or mostly).. Having something else to focus on helped me multiple times. I always had family, sport and friends but there are days when none of this applies. But.. A picture has to be taken every single day and sometimes it really helped.

Taking a break from work with a lab mate.

4, I've taken pictures which I wouldn't have if not for 365. Somewhat derivative of point 2. but the idea behind this one is that I started to take my camera with me almost all of the time. It opened for me a possibility to turn "Oh.. That would be a nice photo" to "Oh.. Let's try this one. It will be a nice photo". Also, some streak photos - the ones that I took because I needed to upload something on that day but had no ideas - turned out to be quite nice and I feel a bit proud of them in the end.

Random object on the street, turned out one of my favourite pictures for a desktop background.
Impromptu streak photo with a twist.
Another streak picture which turned out pretty well.

5. A random 365 project is not very hard. OK.. This one might not be a very popular statement. However, I definitely think so. Taking a random picture each day is demanding but not extremely hard. You can always upload a picture of a flower or a candle or another cat portrait (yes, I'm speaking out of my own experience). It doesn't necessarily have to be something amazing every day. For me, the greatest problem is always time but even though I managed to take a picture a day for 152 days in a row. Am I proud of all of them? No. But it doesn't change the situation.

As much as it sounds a bit crazy, I'm thinking of starting another 365 project. The difference would be that the new one will have a theme and will require definitely more planning and strong will. I still have to weigh all the advantages and disadvantages and plan it out well but I am super excited to try something more demanding.

Below are some of my other favourites from 152 days so far.. 213 to go this year :-)


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