2016 is nearly in the bag, and I am very much looking forward to having another fresh 365 days to poke sticks at. Just as with most people, every year this time I try to look forward to what it is I can improve upon or learn. Whether it's on a personal level, professional, or business related...I try to make room for improvement and learn something new. Sometimes I win...sometimes I lose. That's just part of the game.
For several years now, I have tossed around the idea of completing a long-term (all things being relative) project or challenge, but just haven't taken the opportunity to do so. This year, I'm just going to dig in and make it happen. Over the next fifty-two weeks, I'll be posting and completing weekly assignments. Each assignment will be a challenge from varying standpoints. Whether the challenge will be learning a new technique, experimenting with a previously unexplored genre(s), or even networking with fellow photographers. I am determined to make it happen.
For those unfamiliar with a "52 Week Project", or even a "365 Project", I will briefly explain in my own terms what each means to me.
A "365 Project" can cover a wide range of subject matter, genres, techniques, etc.. The choice is ultimately up to the photographer. They can cover something different each day, or the subject matter can span the entire 365 days. The end result is the photographer creates at least one image per day focused on their chosen subject. At the end of the project, the photographer would then look back at what improvements were made, what worked well or did not work so well, and perhaps utilize the project as a baseline for future needs.
In the case of a "52 Week Project", the only real and biggest difference is the assignments are completed on a weekly basis. This can have the advantage of more time for preparation and planning. This is relatively helpful and buys those of us with a hectic schedule a little bit of time between assignments. However, this is not for those that have a habit of procrastinating. The deadline quickly comes and will force some to run around snapping random shots...just for the sake of doing so. The idea isn't to create snapshots...rather photographs. Photographs that are compelling, tell a story, capture the imagination, and elicit an emotional response from the viewer. The idea is to improve in those areas that need it, and maintain proficiency in the areas we're good in.
In my case, I have many things I want to improve upon...just about every aspect of photography I want to improve on. I also want to improve in business related aspects, as well. For example, networking. Networking is an important aspect in any business. I have a couple of assignments over the next year that intentionally forces me to either network or collaborate with other photographers or artists.
This project list wasn't written by myself. Rather, I took assignments from a few different lists to create one based on my needs. I felt if I had written it myself, I would have swayed more towards the one's I was more proficient with. That would have served no purpose. It wouldn't have forced me to improve on much of anything. That being said, here is a small sampling of things to come.
Week 1: Portrait: Self-Portrait- we start with the self-portrait to serve as a baseline for our improvement(s).
Week 2: Traditional Landscape- traditional wide-angle landscape, include foreground and background interest, don't forget the dramatic skies, use leading lines to take the viewer on a trip through the image
Week 30: Panning- create motion blur in our background and foreground while keeping the subject tack sharp
Week 36: 50mm- photograph whatever is desired, only stipulation...it must use a fixed focal length of 50mm.
Week 40: Music- use the art of photography to tell a story about the art of music
Week 43: Bodyscape- explore the human body's shapes and textures
Week 50: Portrait: Festive- it's nearly Christmas...time to get the festivities on!
Week 52: Portrait: Self-Portrait- look back at the first self-portrait created, what was improved upon?
Additionally, this project isn't just mine. Anyone is free to participate, and I strongly encourage to do so. I don't care if the images are created using a cell phone, a mirrorless, DSLR, or camera obscura. A camera is a camera. I am more interested in and focused on sound fundamentals (composition, exposure, subject matter, creativity), not the gear.
All that being said, I look forward to this project and hope you can join me for a little bit of fun!