So a little more than a year has passed since I started my 365 project, and it's time to wrap things up, or it would be, had the project ended on a successful note.
As you might have guessed, it didn't. So while this is still a wrap-up, it will be a little less celebrative than I had intended twelve months ago, although that is not necessarily a bad thing. There is little to learn in celebration, after all, and there are positive aspects to all this, which I will talk about further down the page.
To make a long story really short, I went on a photographic binge, and as a consequence I suffered from photographic poisoning and a pretty long photographic hangover.
It turns out that taking a shot a day is not that easy when one tries to put a certain amount of craft and thought into what is being done, has to deal with editing, posting, learning and practicing, is expected to be hip and productive on social networks, positive, present and reassuring, and, above all, things get really complicated when one has to deal with all those little deviations from the dream that every life inevitably has.
While I really did have fun developing my 365 Project, for a while, I ended up reaching a point where I was just not enjoying what I was doing anymore.
My tipping moment came in early September 2016, after over eight months of daily photos, when I found miself editing this piece-of-shit-close-up of a two Euro coin.
My motivation had been dwindling for some time, due to a mix of positive and negative reasons, but this ended up being the last straw, the one you regret the day after.
Somewhere in that blurry, yellowish background, I felt, I had lost my motivation to keep the project going, and the reasons for this were both negative and positive.
- Lack of time
- Lack of creativity
That's basically it, boiled down to what I consider the essential factors. There is not much more to be said about these, as I'm sure every single person has had to deal with these at some point.
Much more interesting, in my opinion are the positive aspects, which I will elaborate on a little more. These are:
Day after day, photo after photo, whether you realize it or not, your skills are increasing and you are becoming faster, sharper and more organized. The downside of this, is that if the stimuli that surround you do not grow together with your skills, you will rapidly slide into boredom, but again, this is not a bad thing.
To grow bored of something means that results have been reached, it's a signal that things need to change, and a prompt to start looking around for what exactly needs to change, and how.
I grew increasingly bored at the idea of having to face my now well established photographic workflow every single day, for no other reason than having stated I would do so for a year
At some point boredom becomes an uncomfortable prison, but if you can pull through that unpleasant phase, it becomes somewhat of a cry for freedom, it gets up in your face and forces you to realize you have to take action, even if this action is letting go, giving up, or wrapping up a 365 project.
Now, in my case, I got good enough at what I was doing that I eventually got bored. However, my ability in finding interesting and challenging subjects did not grow at the same rate, and that is one of the reasons I'm writing this specific post, instead of another.
New shit to do
This is, BY FAR, the main reason my 365 Project failed.
In a very lucky series of events I started getting into some concert photography and loved it.
This brought me to finally unfreeze from that "one photo a day" horizon, which had grown to small to be comfortable.
There was a busy autumn calendar of punk bands I really wanted to shoot and hear, and this absorbed all of the energy I had left for photography while giving me some incredible experiences.
And let's face it, why on earth would you go out in the rain to take yet another few shots of Amsterdam bikes, when just the day before you got to shoot Bad Religion and have a ton of photos to edit?
As I couldn't come up with a convincing answer to this question, I figured there was really no reason to go.
So I stopped.
And that is the end of my 365 project.
The way I see it, this project served its purpose in the best of ways. It gave me things to think about and things to talk about.
It got me to challenge myself and to learn a bunch of new things that I might not have done otherwise, but it also saturated any freedom I had, bringing me to put that one daily photo above a lot of other stuff, and ultimately harming my drive to take pictures.
Now, a year after it started, I can finally announce the failure of my 365 Project with a smile on my face, because hand in hand with that failure are new directions to be explored, new challenges and results to be seen and just a lot of freedom to do what I want.
I hope the same will be true for you, in your moments of failure.
Before I go, here is one of the photos from Bad Religion's concert in Amsterdam, I hope you enjoy it!