Wednesday, March 17, 2010

on memory and forgetting and taking a picture every day

because you can never have too much yarn porn.
january 1, i started a 365 photo-a-day project. and, in consultation with many of your good selves, i created a flickr group to support it and for us to have a place to share our photos and give feedback to one another, with the idea of improving our photography. in the initial, heady days of january, it was so much fun! it seemed like the year would fly by and the inspiration would continue to flow like a fountain. all these people who knew one another from the blogosphere and a few new ones joined in and we became friends. and everyone learned and made explore and was happy.

then february struck. most of those in the group live in the northern hemisphere, so it was the darkest, coldest, most dreary part of the winter and it was hard. now it's march and spring is taking its sweet time in coming, at least where i live. there are days when i look outside at the aging snowbanks and the bare trees and i think, "i can't possibly take a  picture of anything worthwhile today." but then i take a wander around the house or i look at the photos the others in the group have taken and i feel inspired by something someone else photographed, and i get through it. because i promised myself i would. and my promises to myself have to mean something. and you reach a point where you keep doing it BECAUSE it's hard and because doing things that are hard can be good for you, and because it makes you buy fresh flowers on a regular basis.

my reasons for doing this have already changed in the 75 days it's been running. at the beginning, if i'm  honest, i wanted to show off my ability to take breathtaking pictures and develop more consistency in that. now, i realize that such a project is more about documenting what's going on in my life. and i admit that it's most decidedly not breathtaking on a daily basis. some days, i use my iPhone (thank goodness i've got hipstamatic and camerabag and other apps to make that more interesting). when the weather gets good, i'm going to use some of my film cameras (they're best at outdoor photos). i realized that a profound macro of the inside of my cat's ear doesn't actually help me document my life on a daily basis, so i've worked at pushing myself away from those and towards things that will help me remember what was going on and what was important to me at a particular moment in time. i think ultimately i'll find that this project is about memory for me.

the other reason i did this was to be more mindful of the world around me. to notice things. to see differently. last year at about this time, i got on a total eyeball kick, which i later realized was about my wanting to SEE differently. having to take a photo every day makes me look differently at the world.

i'll admit it's hard for me not to see the current exodus from the group as a personal rejection of sorts, despite endless explanations to the contrary, but i'm trying. and until i can forget about it, that's all i can do.in the meantime, it makes me quite sad to see people give up and leave us, whatever their reasons. but although i'll admit it shakes my conviction, especially because it's people i love and respect, i remain committed. after all, i read recently about a guy who took a picture every single day from 1979 'til his death in 1997. now THAT's commitment.

if you're not now totally put off the idea of taking a photo every day and you'd like to join us, please check out the blog camp 365 group on flickr. it's never too late to start!

* * *

and the picture at the top? what does it have to do with all of this? well, it was one of THOSE days, where i took what felt like 600 pictures of the new yarn that i'm going to use to make granny squares after kristina and ulrika teach me this coming weekend, and i wasn't pleased with how any of them turned out. but then, i played with them in lightroom and i think this one came out ok. a process that was good for me and which framboesa talks about very thoughtfully here.

17 comments:

Sarah said...

You really are an endless source of inspiration for me...I know I keep saying that, but every time I pop over here I wind up feeling so much better.

I LOVE the picture of the yarn, it's beautiful, and there's something about the mood that really gets to me.

Gonna go check out your Flickr group...

rayfamily said...

Please don't take it personally. You are a tremendous inspiration to me. I think your's was the first blog I found when I began this crazy journey and excuse the sappiness, I feel crazily connected with you, we seem to have similar goals.

I love the 365 project and though the winter dreariness has been a challenge I can't wait for the color and light to come. I worried when I started to see some of the changes in the group how you'd feel about it. Look forward to all the exciting things to come and stay true to yourself :)

End totally sappy speech...

Trina S. said...

Honestly, I like the yarn pic, the colors are very nice... and I loooove LR! I know what it feels like to take a million shots of one thing to get the bbbbbestest one! good job!

Just keep plugging away!
T
www.mommeville.com

Cyndy said...

"Nobody said it was easy
It's such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh, take me back to the start."
(Coldplay, The Scientist)

TODAY is the FIRST day of the rest of this project. And tomorrow (and the day after that) we will begin again and once again. At least that's my story, and I'm sticking to it! Everyday is a new day and a new opportunity...

Yes, there have been changes, but all of them were prompted by the members' own needs ~ certainly not because you failed them in anyway. Shake it off (then shake up a martini). There are many more of us looking to you for more inspiration.

I am especially honored because you asked me to help. I LOVE this project and am honored to be its biggest cheerleader. I bet this recent shakedown will open other doors, as well, and bring more members to the front as we all work together to get to December.

I had someone look at our project today and she was so excited! She will be joining us for many of the same reasons we all started. To share, to learn, to improve, to mingle. Remember those reasons? They never changed ~ just some of us needed a reminder. Perhaps a little more sunshine will shed some light ~ or maybe everyone will feel good about resetting and moving forward. Either way, i"m ready!

my wv: happr. Yup.

Cyndy said...

oooh. Next wv: blewe, as in blue room with a swagger. Guess what? I happy to be at Blog Camp, even if just in a pixelated fashion, and just like when I finally get to Denmark, you are going to have a hard time getting me to leave...

xoxo

Cyndy

Megan said...

i do hope you'll do this next year. I'd like to get a real camera at some point and try my hand at photography...something i've never done. would love all the tips, pointers and suggestions i could get.

Katea said...

About Jamie Livingston - I clicked on your link to the site where his photos were posted. One thing he appears to have had in abundance were friends. Just about every photo I saw had people in it - some of the same people over and over on different days, small groups of friends hanging out, having dinner, sometimes one person thinking or drawing, it's an incredible arc. His life was full of laughter and love, even though there was obviously also pain. It is a testament to the endurance of friendship that the project even came to light - it wasn't put online until after he had already been dead for ten years. Amazing. Maybe a photo a day can help us discover those wonderful aspects of our own lives, seeing the overarching arc that may not be possible for some to find until there is a larger body of work from which to observe the pattern. That daily photo, after a time, may show us something about ourselves that we didn't even know we were catching in the shot.

Lynn said...

Thanks for mentioning Framboesa! I found her awhile ago, and isn't she darling? I've been doing a 365 since last October, so am not sure whether I can just continue it with your group or not, but I completely agree with you that February was the WORST. Seriously, I thought it would never end. Like you, though, I'm finding that as I take photos every day, I'm looking at average, daily things in a different, perhaps more appreciative way, and that's a good thing.

Still doesn't make me wish for spring any less, though! PLEASE come soon!!!

julochka said...

thank you for all of the good and positive thoughts! i feel better already!!

Dave King said...

I've been away too long. I've been missing stuff!

mrs mediocrity said...

I like the yarn photo, it is simple but tells a story in a beautiful way. As I was reading your post I was thinking that it would be easy to just take a photo every day, but really hard to take a really good photo every day, one that you are proud to share. But maybe that is the point?
I also thought of joining in and then I had to say to myself "are you nuts? You need one more thing to do, to keep track of?" Which probably means I will be joining you...

Just Jules said...

yarn porn *snicker

stephanie said...

I'm joining your group tonight! Since it's never too late to start, I'm thinking I need to get started.

The Fragrant Muse said...

I woke up in the middle of the night with a rare bout of insomnia. I read your post then checked out the guy who took a picture every single day. I couldn't pull myself away from that site. I was enthralled. I clicked on all the significant dates of my own life over the years to see what he was doing that day. My wedding, the births of my sons. He spent some time in Italy the summer I got married there. He was not much older than me.

And now it is almost 7 p.m. and I've been thinking about him all day. His taking photos of his life right up to the very very end. Commitment indeed.

tidytipsy said...

Yay for yarn porn! Sorry to hear that people are giving up on the 365 group! I'm doing my own little 365 and loving (nearly) every day of it.
Stick with it, we can do it :))

Douglas said...

After reading this. I'm in.

Bocat said...

In the short time that I've been blogging, commenting and contributing to the 365 project I've realized that this is the creativity that I've so wanted to tap into for way too long. Your posts and comments to some of mine never fail to make me smile or snort with laughter. You often write of things that are close to my life right now and for that I am ever grateful for this new venture. In this post you hit on something that I realized I was doing with my photographs. My need to feel that my daily photos are "perfect" or "great" - basically not just normal. But you really have something with capturing the daily ins and outs of our lives - whether they're fabulous or not. I can go several days in a row without feeling inspired or see something 'worthy' of photographing. But that is a judgement I'd like to get away from. Thank you - again - for reminding me why I've started this project. (sorry for the long rambling comment....)