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Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Project 365

Embark on a photographic journey through an entire year

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January is a time of reflection. In the days leading up to the New Year, I hear the sounds of creativity bubbling from those around me as they dip their toes (maybe for the first time or maybe again after time away) into the deep waters of a yearlong photographic project.

Welcome to Project 365.

A yearlong project! There's power in this, strength in beginning a new project and trust in moving forward into something slightly unknown. Will I finish? Will it fade? Will I find daily inspiration? Will I like what I see? These are the thoughts that swirl as you begin day 1/365.

I had all these same thoughts. So, I asked myself why I was doing it. I had never succeeded at such a big project before. In fact, I had fallen off the wagon of a simple 30-day project a year earlier. I thought long and hard about my intentions. What parts of my life did I want to see through the lens of this project? What was my focus?

What I instinctively knew was this: I craved mindfulness. I sought it out with my camera lens. This quickly became Project Life. My 365 Project kept me grounded on bad days and gave me wings on good days. Photography is all about the moment. Staying in the moment has a way of dissipating negativities even though we catch them in freeze-frame with our cameras. When you sit with sadness or anger, you're in control of ushering it out of your mind.

Focusing on the moment has a reciprocal way of magnifying positivity, as well. When you sit with joy and love, you're empowered and radiate it back to yourself and others. Photography holds this magic. No one else has your eyes. No one sees the world exactly as you do.

Many photographers begin their 365 Project on New Year's Day. I hope this might be the year for you. You'll find yourself in good company! This project becomes what you make it. It's a practice in cultivating a strong work ethic (and a reverse process to learn your passion). 365 Projects tend to help photographers maintain focus and find beauty in the everyday.

I began this project on the cusp of life's transition. I chose to document every day, and it carried me through the year I became self-employed, moved, nurtured a terminally-ill mother, finalized my divorce and watched my son enter kindergarten.

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