365 Day People Picture Project

I've had an idea floating around in my head for a few months and, by now, the thought should have subsided if it was just another one of my passing ideas. Since the thought has not diminished, but rather, has elevated into a burning desire, then I know I need to implement my little idea. The thought that has been gnawing at my mind is a photography challenge. I want to challenge myself to take a picture of a person, every single day, for 1 year. I will instagram the photo daily and then post a recap of the collection of photos from the week, here, on Saturday or Sunday.

There are just a few major hurdles in my way:

  1. I'm not a photographer!
  2. I'm not ready!
  3. I don't have the right lenses.
  4. I don't know how to use my camera properly.
  5. I'm scared nobody will look at my pictures.
  6.  I'm more terrified that somebody will look at my pictures!
  7. I'm afraid I'll be horrible.
  8. I don't have photoshop or aperture.
  9. Did I mention, I'm not a photographer?
  10. I'm afraid I might not make progress as a photographer.
  11. I'm afraid I'll do it for a few days or weeks and then decide I made a mistake or lose interest.
  12. I'm scared circumstances could cause me to miss a day.
  13. My blog/website isn't ready - it looks so amateur!
  14.  I'm afraid people won't let me take their picture.
  15. My time is limited and I'm afraid I won't find anyone to photograph. I'm a loner who works hard all day and when I'm not at work, I'm walking/hiking (usually alone) in a forested park. I see more trees and animals, than I see actual people!
  16. I don't know how to even start a project like this and how to efficiently instagram and blog the recap of the week's collection of photographs.

There - that's 16 really good reasons why I "shouldn't" challenge myself to this project. When I evaluate my list of hurdles, it forces me to realize two things; If I don't challenge myself to this project, I will have let my fears paralyze me and I will have let my self-imposed desire for perfection prevent me from starting what could turn into a very fun and rewarding experience.

I remember the message from Shauna, Kat, and Gala of The Blogcademy; "Perfectionism is a form of procrastination." I think a lot of us have this flawed M.O. in that we only want to do that at which we're good and we want to be good immediately. (sometimes we want to be good, even before we'll try something.) We want things to be perfect right out of the gate but we ignore the fact that most of the time, things need to simmer and evolve. I didn't just declare one day that I was going to do a marathon and then do a marathon the next day. I had to start. I had to start right where I was at that moment, and I had to train. I had to start at nearly 300 lbs and my first "training" was the decision to walk to Starbucks instead of drive there. It took a lot of time and a lot of training before I evolved from the 300 pounder who walked to Starbucks one day, to someone who had finished a marathon.

Think of the works and people you admire. They didn't start out being perfect. They just started. This video is long but well worth the watch. This is a video of Darren Rowse (of problogger and digital photography school) and his presentation at the World Domination Summit. Darren Rowse wasn't "ready" when he started. He just started.


THE REASON: Why am I challenging myself to this 365 day project? What a perfect way to learn photography! I'm skipping the part where I stick my toes in the shallow end and instead, I'll just dive right in. I'll get to learn from my errors as I go along, while I'm learning from online resources and I'll enlist some help with either private or group lessons after the Portland Marathon in October.

There's another reason I want to challenge myself to this project and it's a little deeper than just learning how to use my camera. In the few short months that I've had my camera and in the few photos that I've snapped, I've realized that for the first time in my life, I'm really truly seeing beauty in all people and all things. I'm seeing things I would have never seen before. It took looking at the world through a lens to really see beauty. We all know a pretty face when we see one, but when I'm looking through the lens, it shows me beauty in everything around me. It is there. Always. Sometimes I may not see it at first but what I've realized in my limited experience with photography, is that if you can't see the beauty, then try changing your perspective. I've learned that if I don't see a good shot, then I need to get a little closer, or perhaps take a step back. I need to view things from a different angle, or perhaps in a different light. The beauty is there, it's just up to me to see it. It's just like life…if you don't like how things are looking, change your perspective. This challenge is going to train and reinforce in me the trait to first look for the beauty in the people I encounter in a day instead of noticing their flaws.

Another reason for this project - I need to put an end to my lone wolf ways. Over the years, I've noticed I'm really allowing myself to become a loner. Right now, I think I spend a healthy amount of time alone with myself but any more "me time" and I think the balance between time spent with others and time spent alone would be off and tipped in the wrong direction. This project is going to force me to get out in the world and interact with people and put myself in environments other than work, my favorite trails, and the mall.

THE RULES: I've given myself a few rules or guidelines but since this is my own self-imposed project, I'm going to let myself re-define the rules at any time, should I decide it is critical to the survival of the 365 day challenge.

The challenge starts today: Sunday, August 11, 2013.

  • Pictures will be fresh daily. I will not stockpile images for use at a future time.
  • I will maintain a balance between pictures of strangers and pictures of friends and family. Initially, I was planning to do only strangers (or non-friends/family) but I've realized I have some very special people in my life and I'd just love to take their picture.
  • I will instagram the photos daily, at no set time, and post the week's collection of photos on either Saturday or Sunday.
  • The upside of not having Photoshop or Aperture, is that my pictures will start out fairly organic. I know how to use a few editing tools in iPhoto and I'm definitely going to have fun with the filters in instagram and the other photo editing apps, but other than experimenting and having fun with those filters, I don't know how to do any true retouching.
  • The daily picture isn't limited to just one single person. The daily photo might have more than just one subject.
  • If I miss a day, the project and the year starts over. This challenge is for a streak of 365 daily photos.

So, while I may have 16 really good reasons why I shouldn't start this project, I have 3 really good reasons why I should.

  1. I have a camera.
  2. I have a burning desire.
  3. I have to start somewhere.

If you'd like to follow along with the project, check in here on the blog or you can also follow me on Instagram. I'm missellanea and I will tag the pictures from this project as: #365daypeoplepictureproject

If you follow me or check in on me from time to time, thank you! I think we're going to have some fun together.

What do you think? Would you like to challenge yourself to a 365 day photo challenge, or any other type of year-long challenge?