I’m halfway through a project I committed to this year…a 52 week self-portrait photography project. My friend Kim Whitten did a project like this last year and I was intrigued, so when she posted an invitation to her friends on Facebook to jump in this year, I gave it a try. I needed to expand my knowledge of photography since I’m the “official” photographer at work, and I’m always up for a creative challenge.
I’ve heard it said that creativity to a photographer is like ingredients to a chef. Some of the most incredible photographers I know – Jamie, Jennifer and B – all see something that the average person doesn’t see when they look at the same image. So, to kick my own creativity and photography skills up a notch, I jumped into this self-assignment. My first shot was the hardest thing in the world to take. After lots of failures, I convinced my friend Kristina to head to a local coffee shop with me and I took photos until I settled down and got one! She sat there with me drinking coffee and encouraging me that this wasn’t foolish. I could have never gotten started without her encouragement that day.
Why put myself through something like this where there is no money to be gained, no real deadlines, and no limits? The lack of a true deadline is something that makes it hard to stay focused, but the weekly project has been one I’ve enjoyed working toward. Every week, I’ve made myself hit the mark, and usually I hit the deadline and stay on target. The self-portrait has been a tough challenge. Most people hate having their picture made, and to turn the camera on yourself makes it extra difficult. The weekly challenge of finding something fresh or a new location is what I find myself most looking forward to. I’ve started seeing beauty in ordinary places and things I’ve driven by dozens of times. They now become backdrops or props in the project.
I thought this would be a solo project, but Bud has gotten into it too. As we ride the roads and enjoy being together, I find his excitement grows as we scout out locations. When Saturday rolls around, he usually asks if my photo for week is done yet, and if not, off we go to get it done. Sometimes I talk him into the picture too, but usually, he just stands on the sidelines and makes sure I’ve got everything I need. He’s always proud of the final week’s print.
It’s narcissistic, I’m sure, to focus on yourself like this for 52 weeks. But, at the end of the 52 week project, I’ll have a year full of memories, a better understanding of photography and my creative spirit will have been nurtured to the fullest! For a look at the 52 week project links and other great shots by Kim and other friends, check out these websites:
And, my own blog dedicated to the 52 week photo project: