It’s been a while since Chris and I have talked about our various photo projects and since many people like to use the New Year as a starting point for novel endeavors, I thought I would post about it while it is still 2012. I am talking about the idea of taking and sharing a photo with some regularity. Both Chris and I have participated in Project 365 (or the Photo-a-Day project) where you do this daily. It has been a fantastic experience for both of us. But since a daily commitment can be overwhelming for some (for most, in fact), I suggest trying a photo a week (Project 52 – 2013). I have started a new group on Flickr for this and will post a theme for each week. (There are similar groups on Flickr that do not have a theme and the daily project rarely has a theme.) Since many people now have a camera on their phones that they presumably have with them all the time, the technical aspect of this project should be less of a burden than even just five years ago. And thanks to various apps, uploading and sharing has become less of a hassle as well.
Why do this? Lots of reasons as Chris and I have both discussed in the past. To recap just a few, in no particular order: Change how you see the world around you. That may sound grandiose, but looking for something worthy of a photo capture that you share with others makes you look for things around you that you may not notice otherwise. Before too long, even when you do not have your camera in front of your eyes, you start seeing things differently.
Take a regular breather. Day-to-day life can be too mundane or too hectic. This project jolts you out of your routine, it removes you from your usual tasks and forces you to take a few moments and examine your surroundings through a different lens in an attempt to find something worthy of a capture. You will start noticing pretty things in the everyday (whether in your office, your back yard, the street corner you pass by daily or your commuter route), which can be a great break from everything else. Plus it loops back to the point above about changing how you see the world.
Improve your photography not only because practice makes better, but sharing and discussing photos with others helps you realize what works and what does not. It encourages you to try new things you had not done before. It tends to be a forgiving project – perhaps because of its regularity – so there is not much pressure about messing up.
Additionally, if you find yourself in the right group with enthusiastic commenters and participate in this way yourself, the project can also have a nice social component. The first time I participated in Project 365, I both got to know acquaintances better and got to meet new people I had not known at all. Friendships through these projects can easily outlast the project itself (I say this based on my 2006/07 experience participating in Project 365.)
Ready to jump in? To help get you started, Flickr is giving away 3 free months of Pro account. (Speculations about its demise notwithstanding, Flickr just came out with a much improved smart phone app so it’s not dead yet!) I highly recommend Flickr for this thanks to its social component. Of course, you can use whatever platform you desire, but participating in a group with others engaged in the project is a huge plus and no site does this as well as Flickr for photo enthusiasts. You can join my new Project 52 – 2013 group here or, if you’re ready for a daily challenge, join us on E’s Project 365 (it’s not a problem that some of us have been at it for a while, you can start now).