Show me the exact line between habit and obsession.
I might take a photo of it.
Since 2008 I have attempted, though not 100% succeeded, at taking photographs every day, posting my favorite to flickr, as one of more than 1700 others in the Daily Photos group there https://www.flickr.com/groups/366photos/.
The calendar change means setting up a new flickr album, and reviewing the past year to find ones that fell through the cracks (forgot to add to album, forgot to upload, and definitely some days of no photos). Still, I was 19 short of 365… but that’s the mostly empty part of the glass.
Here they are, a year in almost daily photos, all assembled into a less than 4 minute video.
Like I did for 2018 and 2017 this was easily done with a clever command line script by John Johnston that downloads all photos from the album, resizes/crops, and assembles them into a video (ironically the music I chose from the Free Music Archive is by a guy named “Robert John”– all the Johns helped me).
Why do I still do daily photos? Aren’t I supposed to move on to new challenges? Get out of some “box”?
I can only guess at it, but at the base level, photography — not the photos– continues brings me joy to find light, detail, oddities, in the process of cropping out out a tiny portion of the world (I argue that photography in a way is creation by deletion, removing everything except what is in the frame) in a way that makes it interesting (to me), or just to find something that makes the spidey sense tingle. It’s one common (among many) that drew Cori and I together. Just today on a walk I noticed that look on her face that I know well, a sense that “there is a photo here worth finding”.
There were no smartphone cameras for me as a kid or young adult (uh oh, semi-nostalogic old man reflecting warning, phones were bulky plastic objects hung on a wall). I did have some kind of pocket/automatic film camera, but it was far from a regular thing I did. I have maybe 2 photo albums of prints from my analog years (like 14-27).
In fact, my love of photography started with a semi-random choice for my last art elective as an undergraduate student. I took a photography class where we learned to do our own darkroom development (in some place in my brain I store the smell of fixer). I borrowed a Pentax from a room-mate (thanks Glenn, wherever you are).
One of the first outings I drove back home to Baltimore, went downtown, and looked at the city in a different way than one does in just going about doing other things. This image was from where I pulled off to the side of the highway that runs through the city. The image is not fantastic (my teacher was “meh”) but it was meaningful for some reason, maybe one of the first few I worked on in the darkroom.
As of 2020, this photo of downtown Baltimore I created, printed from a University of Delaware photography class in 1986 is framed on a wall in our home in Canada.
If I had taken this elective class earlier in my college education, I might have changed majors. Don’t discount the outcomes of taking classes that seem outside your interest zone! As as, my parents performed a wonderful act of love by giving me my own SLR camera as a graduation gift.
More cameras were to come — a history up til 2009 is blogged as https://cogdogblog.com/2009/12/i-cameras/. The current ones in play include my Canon 7D and an iPhone 8.
But this is the thing. My joy and motivation here are not the cameras or the editing software, not the technology, but the creative process of photography (cue this thought for another blog post).
I have no expectation taking on a daily photo challenge can do for you what it does for me. I know from experience teaching media classes, that just having students do these for a short while in a class leads them to see the world around themselves differently. Instead of focusing on tasks or phone swiping, the act of noticing lines, patterns, juxtapositions, color, shadow has them appreciate more their every day surroundings.
I know that from 12 years of daily photos; I bet more than 80% are taken in and around my home.
There is always something new to see when you look closely.
So if its a resolution thing, a desire to take on a creative challenge, join the 13th round of the Daily Photo group in flickr https://www.flickr.com/groups/366photos/
This group was started for in 2008 and will likely be running for years to come. A photo per day project for each year – 366 by the end of the leap year. No rules, no requirements, no apologizing, just shoot a lot and share ONE photo per day. Doesn’t matter of what, or with what device.
Upload photos to your own flickr account, then add your daily photo to this group *after* you join. If motivated, please spread some comment love and join the discussions. Or just take and share photos.
I count now 1794 members, some of them have been here 10+ years. There is almost no interaction, usually I post a message when the year changes over, I change the banner image and icon (choosing from photos by members). It can almost beg the question, is this a community?
Regardless, this little bit of space has collected over 274,000 photos in its span, without fanfare, people just doing this same thing that has mattered so much to me over the years.
Just knowing that others feel the same drive, desire to see the world through a camera and share… well that makes me feel much better about the world.
Featured image: Almost blind luck, I searched this photo from almost exactly a year ago just by searching my flickr images on “photo”. It was actually a “No Hunting” I edited with PhotoShop. I did not even realize until I looked at it for writing this post, that the image had been added to Flickr explore.