PROJECT_MMXIII_IPROJECT_MMXII_IIIt is 2013, a new year and for many photo enthusiasts (like myself) an opportunity to take on the Herculean task of a photo project.  I have for two years running tried to edit a photo a day as my photo project.  If any of you were witness to this experiment you can attest that a lot (okay, all) of my original images were mediocre at best, but after hours in front of my computer they had an almost alchemic transformation.  I was able to turn rubbish into pure gold, it was delightful and embarrassing. Who wants to show off their worse photographs? I lasted longer the second try/year then the first, but it monopolized too much of my precious time and I had to cry ‘uncle’ at around month three.  This year I actually spent a month or two prior to the end of the year debating what I would do for this year’s photo project and how I would be able to achieve a modicum of success, perhaps even finish what I started. None of my grand ideas resonated with me, it all seemed so contrived and I shirk from anything that seems inauthentic. I wondered if I should even attempt it again, would I just be sentencing myself to a sort of Sisyphusism, rolling the metaphorical boulder of creative responsibility on weary shoulders up hill, only to see it descend down hill again– ad naseum?  Then I decided to stop talking to myself, because when I do that it just seems to lead me into an anxious abyss, because really who cares?  It’s a self-imposed photo challenge gosh darn it! It’s created to help me improve my photographs, if I shoot even one photograph for the whole project it is one photo more than I took previously thus by nature making me a better photographer by just practicing.  I  always make everything so much more complicated than it ever needs to be; I am good like that.  On New Year’s morning my light bulb moment happened and I decided on my ‘theme’ for my Project MMXIII.  Firstly, I decided on a 52 week instead of a 365.  I know myself too well to know that I wouldn’t be happy just shooting an image each day, I would want to edit it as well (to the nth degree) and doing this would not be realistic. The theme I am choosing is nature, because it’s what I have an affinity for (good idea when choosing your personal theme), but I wanted it to be more creative and not too literal.  I am going to focus on abstract images in nature, think Mother Nature’s modern art if you will. I am going to be looking for shapes, colors, light & shadow. I want to find the unusual in the usual.  These first photos above had a Katazome (Japanese kimono stencil) feel, which although that technique is centuries old it feels very relevant for the 21st century, both modern + clean . I am a minimalist, but Mother Nature is not, so I am not only going to be a photographer but a curator and a sleuth. I may not always go with the linear, I may delve into the soft and dreamy, I want to have a malleable ‘map’, that allows me to explore other avenues, but still gets me to my ultimate destination (in this case the 52 finish line).  What I am hoping to accomplish is to become a better photographer, to challenge myself to see past the need to take the “perfect” photo (I am always lamenting that I don’t have the ‘right’ people, places or things to photograph) and just get into the moment (gosh, that sounds so new age-y).  I am not an ‘in the moment’ sort of person, I spend a considerable amount of time thinking (read stressing) about the future and begrudging my past decisions. This is going to be quite the challenge for me.   If you would like to join me on this adventure I am going to have a group on Flickr, you can do the same project as I am or choose a theme that you feel resonates with you.  I will be uploading my results once a week both here and in the group and if applicable sharing my process (I love to share what I have learned). I hope you join me and I can last longer than 3 months!  Join me here!

P.S. I know a lot of you have accomplished 365’s any advice to someone has failed multiple times?

P.P.S. These are not black & white photographs, I shot them on an overcast day which made it easy to ‘blow out the sky’ and create these deep dark colors on my subject.

13 thoughts on “PROJECT MMXIII

  1. i’ve like the exact same problem you’re dealing with. tried many times, but never ever finished a challenge. time to try one more time! i’ll definitely join you on flickr, hope that helps a bit. (:

  2. Oh excellent! We can help each other! I figure once a week can’t be that bad. In the group my little ‘twist’ is that you can even take a former photograph and edit it, the idea is to get something up and get motivated:) Yea, I am so excited we will be doing this together!

  3. I’m in! One of my major goals for this year is to become better at photography, and though I don’t have even one whit of your talent, I am armed with a new camera to learn and love. The branches are beautiful and the reference to katazome is spot-on.

  4. Yes, Sanae please come join! A new camera is like getting a new pair of running shoes, it makes you go faster, love! In my Foto classes the only way anyone gets better is to shoot, once a week can’t be that hard for us right? Do you think you will theme or just go by the seat of your pants? I will add a lot of links in the Directory for photo sources that have helped me!

  5. I would love to join in. I finished my photography degree just over a year ago and have done nothing with it really. I need something to keep me focused and inspired to photograph and people to keep me motivated. I think I judge myself pretty harshly and compare myself to everyone else too much. Being in a group of people who are just photographing for the joy of it and too improve will be great. Where can I find the flickr group? Love the branches by the way.

  6. Nichole excellent! The more the merrier! Congrats on the degree and finding the link! I know it wasn’t so obvious I am in the process of changing the link color so it’s more obvious, so it wasn’t you but me! Do you think you will theme as well?

  7. Looking forward to the links, Tristan! As for the theme, I think I’m going to go with things I make, which could be clothes, food (usually desserts), toys, illustrations – these are the things I blog about and want to up the ante in terms of photo quality :-) I’m excited to get started!

  8. I would like to do a theme but I have not thought of one yet. I think having a theme will help me stay on track and keep me focused. I’m worried about my theme being super cheesy though, so I really need to think it out.

  9. I think it might help, but you can always change your theme! You can change it every week, every month, etc! I might do that if I find I am hitting ‘photo block’.

  10. I’ve been debating whether or not to join your group. It’s exactly what I’ve been looking for – and thinking of.
    I’m torn between starting something new and fresh and challenging; or addressing the mountain of sorting and editing from last year (and before). Getting caught up is not going to improve my photography – but can I just leave the mess behind?
    Nature is the perfect theme for me; we have a lot of nature around here! No excuses.
    right … I’m heading over to join.

  11. Heidi come play! I actually have that in the group notes if you want to edit a photo from a previous time go for it, the idea is to get us doing a photo-centric/creative task once a week! You can do it!

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