Where's the Challenge?

October 26, 2012  •  Leave a Comment

A month ago I invited photographers to share their experiences in committing to creating one image each day for 365 consecutive days. I wanted to hear about what was the most difficult part, how it changed (or solidified) their style or approach to photography, and what advice they would offer those considering doing itSome had heard of sites like Project 365 while others had created their own (self) challenges.

Topping the response list were "yes (I tried it), but life got in the way", "it was hard finding something to shoot each day", and "I didn't like anything I did and got discouraged". But I also had these:

"I am doing a 365 project that I started on January 1. I have missed a few days but keep recommitting to it and I love the photo ideas. It has help[ed] broaden my horizons and give me more ideas."

"Years ago, I created a personal project which demanded me to shoot at least 12 frames every day for 90 days. The two biggest struggles for me were, 1) to find something different to shoot everyday or find different views of the same subject and 2) to actually shoot 12 frames on an everyday basis for 90 days. I benefited because I learned to look a subject from different angles, try different lighting, etc."

Positive affirmations like "dream big" and "just do it" are part of our everyday experience. We're exhorted to look forward, not back; look up, not down, in assessing where we are or want to go. But happens when we get stuck? Sometimes the challenge isn't in reaching our potential but in finding a way to continue after (repeated) failure.

Another photographer answered, "If you are willing yo work, and shoot something even when it's late and you have forgotten to do one for the day, then do it. Even if you fail, you will still come away with some fantastic images."

And, that is the sentiment that brought me to my computer. So much of what we do isn't pure art (what is?) but more the application of a discipline. Once committed, you have to do it everyday no matter what the results.

For another thing, I want to fail. Yes, you read that correctly. Fear of failing has allowed me to put limits on my own creativity so it's a built in opportunity to kick myself in the rear and into gear.

So, my new challenge is to be, on occasion, spectacularly disappointed with my work and not only live through it but use it to my creative advantage.

What's your challenge?


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