There are days I can’t wait to publish a daily photo on Flickr® for my Project366. There are many other days when I dread putting anything on the web. For those who don’t know, a Project366 (Project365 in a non leap year) is a personal commitment to take at least one photograph each and every day for a full year. Generally, anyone embarking on such an adventurous challenge will publish their work on the web to share with others who might be following along to be accountable. Publishing to a website creates something similar to a time stamp on your images so that you can prove to yourself and others that you did actually meet your obligation.
Here’s my problem with this kind of project and it’s my second one, I should know better. Sometimes my shot for the day is crap. I hate posting work that’s not my best to the web but am forced to when I’m committed to publish every day. I cringe when I look back at a few of my 200+ project images so far this year. There are some shots that I would never have shared had I not felt the obligation to stay current with my project commitment. In fact, there have been more than a few days when I’ve seriously considered bailing on the project because I really didn’t want to publish a photo on a particular day.
Maybe, I should have quit. Perhaps it would have been better to fold when I didn’t feel an image was worthy of sharing. I hate that there are shots on my Flickr® pages that I really don’t want to be there? Will anyone looking at my work understand the concept of a Project366 and give me some benefit of the doubt for posting crappy images? Probably not, that’s a lot to expect.
But I haven’t quit yet. Maybe I’m crazy. Perhaps I just don’t care enough about what I’m posting and how it might reflect through the impressions others get of my work. But I’m not a quitter, never have been. I’m just stubborn that way. It’s not that I haven’t made large personal commitments before.
I’ve been through some other personal challenges that required persistence. Some might call it stubbornness. I think being stubborn has some benefits if not taken too far. I’ve run my share of marathons and half marathons, requiring similar commitments as a Project366. I know how to prepare for and finish challenging events. I trained for the Boston marathon over one of the worst winters in New England history. Whether it was raining, sleeting and even in blizzard conditions I trained doggedly to get my daily miles so I’d be ready to run the big one. I even ran with a broken wrist for the last couple of months after my wife waxed the wood floor at the bottom of the stairs. The fact that I only had socks on and was running downstairs is irrelevant. Nobody told me about the waxed floor. Besides training with an arm cast, there were days when I just didn’t feel like running. There were some days when I was tired or sick or the weather was pitiful. I found lots of excuses or made some up just to justify slacking off. But I still forced myself to train even when I knew my run would feel horrible and my training times would be pathetic. But those days still contributed to my ability, confidence and fitness to complete a marathon. Who knows, giving in and skipping training on those discouraging days could have been the difference between quitting and finishing the race. I do know that it’s likely that without all those training days, I would not have done as well as I did.
Perhaps it’s the same with a Project366. It’s a marathon of sorts. There are days when my heart isn’t in it. But then there are days when I grab an image that’s just amazing too. Good days are encouraging and inspiring to get through the other days when I just don’t think my pictures cut it. The good days also inspire me to get out for a shot I can be proud of at the end of the day. Like Forrest Gump would say, “my mama always said ‘life was like a box of chocolates you never know what you’re gonna get.’” The same is true for my daily challenge to find a great image that I’m proud to share.
So, on bad days or good, I’ll continue to take daily photographs and share them on Flickr®. I’ll take what I get and learn from it. After all, it’s all really just exercising my photography skills knowing that unless I’m willing to make and learn from mistakes, I’ll never make the improvements in my photography that I continually strive to achieve.
The images posted here are some of what I consider to be my better ones. I invite you to browse my Project366 on Flickr® and find the ones that aren’t so good!