Reflections after 172 days…

The project

This project was invented on a park bench in a Melbourne suburb on a sunny Sunday afternoon on the way home from the beach. Back then I had no idea, that over the following 172 days it would turn into such a fun as well as insightful creative experiment. But I found the clarity and simplicity of the project convincing from the start.

Cataclysm www.dense13.com triggered this project, other inspiration was the playfulness of Sophie Calle’s work and a previous project “Hamburg -zweite Blicke” https://everywherebutdifferent.wordpress.com/hamburg-zweite-blicke.

The process

The imagelogbook gave me about 5-60 mins of total immersion into photography every day, even on otherwise busy days. I am impressed by how much can be achieved just through regular practice and in a time frame that is otherwise easily wasted.

I sometimes looked for an image, sometimes I just bumped into one without looking, sometimes I staged one, but the staged ones are the minority. It was a strategy I used only when nothing offered itself.

The one minute rule was good to get me started and to prevent overthinking but I only followed it in the beginning. Sometimes there just isn’t anything to photograph around for a minute. However it made me realise that the search for the perfect photo is pointless but it is always worth looking for the best of the photo opportunities that offer themselves. Looking back, some of these turned out better than the “perfect” photo I was looking for.

I love the approach of not planning the project beforehand but finding out more about it by doing it. More adventurous than the other way round.

The interplay with people who provided the word has been a big source of inspiration and motivation. I think I was as committed to the people providing the word as I was to the photographic side project. Thanks to Gonzalo for providing the majority of the words for my daily challenge as well as very helpful feedback, and to Diana, Alba and Albert for additional words.

It was interesting how unpredictable the words were. Some sounded easy at first and then I could not find a photo, sometimes the other way around. Each day a new adventure! It also worked well besides other daily commitments, occupying some time for creativity but not taking over the day.

I learned to explore and play with the camera in my phone. Turned out that images of my phone are as good as from my old DSLR. I explored different apps and am surprised how powerful they are. The immediacy of taking the photo and uploading on the blog straight away really worked for me. So quick and easy. All the equipment I needed for this project was in my phone. Light, always there and perfect for travelling. The main thing I missed about my DSLR is the possibility to play with depth of field but I am happy to trade it for less weight. I think I am a convert to smart phone photography for now. Who would have thought?

Curated on the blog I take the photos much more serious than on my phone’s hard drive. Having a regular project record was important and the blog was an ideal format for that.

I liked that this project tended to get me out of the house. These photos were deliberately taken in my everyday environments, I did not go out of my way to take a photo. I really enjoyed walking around looking for photographic inspiration. I found a lot of surprises along the way and paid attention to things I otherwise would not have noticed.

What I learned

My favourite photos of the series tend to be ones where a strong sense of intuition told me to stop doing what I was doing to take the photo. They were worth interrupting a conversation, not making a green traffic light or not getting home before it starts raining. Now that I know how that sense of intuition feels I will try to always give it the attention it deserves.

For some words I took lots of shots of the same image. None of these ended up among my favourites. I was probably trying too hard. In the end I could not tell them apart anyway and they were clogging my phone’s hard drive. Lesson to learn: If an image still raises doubts after 3 different attempts to shoot it, it may not be worth trying any further. Just go for a walk and wait for intuition to tell you to stop somewhere else.

The photos taken without passion for either the subject or the act of photographing turned out rather boring. I think there is a correlation between the passion I felt when I took the image and the strength of the photo.

I like the interplay of photos with something else, in this case words. A lot of the photos I took for this project would be meaningless without the word.

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