A Photo a Day: 2009 in Pictures

BlogHer Original Post

The new year is 11 days old and if you take a picture, it'll last longer - I promise. In fact, take 365 (Or 354 now, I guess) and it'll feel like a lovely, photographed eternity. Go on. Do it.

I am, of course, completely biased. It is the rare, rare day that I don't shoot at least one photograph, even if it's just with my (sadly not iphone-quality) cell phone. There is much grumbling from my nearest and dearest about "that blahblahblah camera again" but guess who's SUPER popular when it comes time to get shots of, oh, just about anything, because guess who always has the camera when you need the camera??? And honestly, as much as I'm needled, I make no apologies. Since I started taking photographs seriously about four years ago, it's become part of my life and my most essential way of documenting it. I still write, and I'll never stop. I still blog. I'm a Twitter fiend who never posts TwitPics. But when it comes down to it, my photo archive is my yearly record, the story of where I go, who I'm with, and for the most part, what I do, and I'm really, really glad that I have it.

The newish year is a fantastic time to get on board with any of the number of online photo and other visual art challenges out there. Time being the funny, ephemeral thing it is, there's still something about the turning of the Gregorian calendar that suggests new beginnings, new leaves turned, plans reconfigured, what have you. And while I think there's no day like, well, any day to start or keep on taking great pictures, if the new year gives some necessary structure, go on and rock it out.

My photo-taking started out rather inauspiciously this year, I admit. 

What can I say? I was a little glad to see 2008 go, and besides I'm turning into everyone's mother, so that naturally leads to static shots of the television. I had big plans to get onboard with a photo challenge or two right out of the gate, but a serious personal crisis had my attentions elsewhere.

Now? I'm ready to roll. I started with Flickr, which, I admit, is my destination number one for groups of like-minded souls and online photo projects. I've belonged to - and completely flaked on - Project 365 for a while now. Taylor McKnight, the 25-year-old also behind the popular Hype Machine music blog welcomes 2009 contributors.  Guidelines?

    1. Please post no more than one photo representing each day. Regardless if you take 3 or 30 or 300 photos in a single day, each photo you post must have been taken on a different day.

    2. Backlogs are acceptable, as long as #1 is satisfied, but please be considerate. You can only upload 3 photos a day

    3. Optional: Tag your photos with project365

Photojojo - claiming to find the best DIY photo projects, tips and gear - ran a tutorial by McKnight called "Project 365: How to Take a Photo a Day and See Your Life in a Whole New Way." He gives some great advice for the daily project: 

Taking a photo a day is a big undertaking with big payoffs. Here are just a few reasons why you should consider doing it:

* Imagine being able to look back at any day of your year and recall what you did, who you met, what you learned... (Often we find it hard to remember what we did just yesterday or even last night, let alone a whole year ago!)

* Your year-long photo album will be an amazing way to document your travels and accomplishments, your haircuts and relationships. Time moves surprisingly fast.

* Taking a photo a day will make you a better photographer. Using your camera every day will help you learn its limits. You will get better at composing your shots, you'll start to care about lighting, and you'll become more creative with your photography when you're forced to come up with something new every single day.


 365 Days is another daily photo Flickr group, this one with a singular focus: you. Each photo must be of you, some representation thereof, taken by you, with a self-timer or without. There are more intense group rules, which I can't really handle but perhaps the hardier among you can. Self-involvement, self-discovery, both or beyond? You decide. Take a self-portrait a day, post it and tag it 365 Days, and be done. The extras abound: a member map, a 365 Ideas for 365 Days discussion thread, weekly milestone threads, and yes, more stuff that perhaps you can check out and still be gainfully employed or not let your house fall down around your ears but I'm not sure I could.

For the less daily-photo-obsessed, 365 or Less might work.

    Are you doing your 365 and feel like some days you just don't have the energy? Is it consuming your days? Is it taking you away from responsibilities? Do you sometimes feel like you might have to quit, but you ARE NOT a quitter? Do you enjoy it but sometimes feel stressed about your daily SP? Did you already do a year of 365 and want to continue taking SP's without committing to 365?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, this might be the group for you. At the end you might have very well completed all 365 days, but if you did 280 or 120 or 302, that's ok too.

No rules

You do not have to comment

    Stress Free
    Your kids will still eat, your spouse will still love you, and you will still take an almost daily (or not) SP.
    We are NOT quitters, we are realists, with a life.

    Only basic guidelines:
    No Porn. No nastiness of any kind will be tolerated.

The Round Robin Photo Challenge ended last year with camera resolutions, asking "What do you want to photograph in 2009?" The first challenge, posted today, is "Not of this season." Over here, I'm thinking anything warm and dry - outside, anyway.

Round Robin participants include Carly at Ellipsis, Connie at Far Side of FiftyGina at Gina's Space and Vicky at Maracas. Jan at Murrieta365 picks themes every day as well. 

The Photo Challenge site calls itself "the number one place for challenging yourself to take your photography to the next level." It gives a different theme every week, and they're pretty good so far. There's a Photo Challenge Flickr group, of course - just tag the shots "2009Challenge."

Lisa at Lisas Chaos is a photographer, new grandma and cancer survivor who's participating in a new beginning photo challenge this month.

Jen Lemen and Jen Lee came up with The Portfolio Project in late December, a 12-week plan to produce 50 new works of art - whatever your medium is.

Here's their take:

This is a big game. What would your landscape look like, if 12 weeks from now you had 50 new paintings, or 100?  If you had 50 new poems and short stories?  What if they weren’t all amazing–don’t you think the odds are that plenty of them would be?  That it would feel good to fish for the best from a vast ocean instead of a puddle of projects?

50 photographs in 12 weeks? That's doable. 50 photos you can do some cool stuff with in 12 weeks, or that you actually might want to look at again? That requires a little more activity, but it's a good counterpoint to any wintertime blues.

Michelle Zobbie at Zobbie Photography Blog posted her 2009 photo resolutions.  Her first is to post at least once a week in the photo of the day challenge on the Two Peas in a Bucket message board. She'd also like to get some of her work printed and hung, play with lighting options and organize her images on her computer. That's enough for a year. 

This article by Jeff Greene on Microsoft's professional photography blog has some fun and potentially challenging suggestions New Years Photo Resolutions.

A few broad ideas with some potential :

  • Start a project
  • Try some new software
  • Try a new technique
  • Share your images
  • Share your knowledge
  • Enter more contests
  • Volunteer your skills
  • Get organized
  • Start a photo business

Use the above as broad guidelines but make your goals very
specific. The point is to improve your photography, so you’ll need to
set some stretch goals and add to your skill set.  I recommend making a
list of the top ten things you would like to accomplish in photography
this year, then start at the top of the list and go for it.

Have you started something new? Would you like to?Let's talk.

Laurie White writes at LaurieWrites, and is Rubyshoes on Flickr


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