And so, just like that, a year has come and gone.
On October 15 of last year, I committed to making and posting a daily photo for the following 365 days. I wanted to see if a budding interest in photography would bloom, if given a chance.
For me, making photos is easy. I don’t mean to imply that I have great skill, knowledge or talent (on the contrary, I have much, much, much to learn), but instead that examining the world through a camera’s lens provides me a kind of easy peace that other creative endeavours, so far, have not.
Making consistently compelling photos is not easy. A fancy camera does not a good photographer make.
So there were (are) times of frustration and discouragement during this project. Life went on all around me, as it does, and did not wait for me and my daily photo. I have a family and a community and responsibilities. My daily photo, I’m well aware, was very low on the rank of important happenings in the world.
But it was a thread of hope and consistency to me.
Because I kind of stink at self-discipline and have been known to procrastinate, I chose to publish my daily photo project to this blog. Just knowing that I’d be accountable to someone other than myself for the duration of this project (if anyone at all chose to follow along) helped motivate me to keep going.
This decision to go public with my photos (when I tend to be very private with my creative efforts) brought up a number of issues, the most important being: why do this at all? For followers? Recognition? Validation?
For whom should I be making photos? Me, or you?
In my case, I know the right answer. But the struggle continues. Most of us want our work to resonate with others. It’s what connects us.
Photography has taught me a few things over the past year:
Begin with gratitude.
Always a good place to start, isn’t it? I’ve been so fortunate to have the means and the support to take on this activity. I have cheerleaders on my team, many whom have made sacrifices to allow me the luxury of spare time. Time for me to practice and make mistakes and then try to fix them. I have new friends and role models in the blogosphere. I have a capable light-drawing tool. And in this beautiful, messy world of ours, I have an endless supply of photographic subjects.
Probably the most obvious lesson photography has taught me: you need to be truly present to have the world open up and allow you to capture it. Slow down and look. But use all your senses, not just your eyes. There’s a world beneath the one you rush through every day. It’s waiting for you to notice it.
Okay, here’s the truth: I’m scared. I’m scared I won’t be good at things. Photography, for example. I’m scared I’ll look foolish when everyone sees that I’m not good at things. But part of this challenge was accepting that it’s okay to be a work-in-progress. Even the best of us still fall under that category. Though I’m proud of my work over the past year, I’m not the photographer I want to be. Yet. And that’s just fine.
Everyone (and everything) is your teacher.
I’m trying to adopt an understanding that every experience and observation – whether joyous or boring or aggravating – will teach me something. This may be helping me cross a barrier of anxiety and self-doubt and be willing to accept new opportunities and meet new people to influence my photographic journey. Some of these interactions may amount to nothing, for now. Or ever. But that’s okay. It’s part of the process.
Well. If you made it this far in my ramblings, please accept my sincere thanks for sticking with me. It’s late and my eyelids are very, very heavy, so I hope this post will make sense when I read it over in the morning. 🙂
To wrap up my year, I chose three of my favourite photos from each month. With a bit of courage and a lot of effort, I hope to continue adding to my collection regularly.
This tiny photography bud is sprouting, climbing, reaching for the light.
Thank you, as always, for looking.