On March 7, 2009, I embarked on a year-long quest to document the new faces, places, foods and experiences I encountered in Argentina through a digital photography project. Project 365 proved to be exhilarating, frustrating, wonderful and insanity-inducing all at the same time.
What I Took Away from Project 365
» I learned to carry my camera with me everywhere. No matter how mundane the outing, no matter how pedestrian the location, I lugged that camera along with me. Invariably, this practice helped me to capture some great shots, and I wound up regretting it when I left my trusty sidekick at home.
» I became more observant. I was always on the lookout for a photo op, and sometimes I'd find one in a completely unexpected place or situation.
» I learned the ins and outs of my camera. The project gave me an excellent feel for the settings and capabilities of my gear. I picked up some new post-processing tricks too.
» My confidence improved. I don't feel quite so strange asking if I can take a photo of a stranger or in a public place, although I still feel weird when I take a picture in the supermarket (but I do it anyway!).
» I love that I can look at every single one of these photos and be instantly transported back to the day that I took it. As a visual diary, the project was an unqualified success, and it helped me to realize that the little moments are just as worthy of a photo as any other.
» I developed better portraiture skills, though I still consider portrait-taking to be one of my greatest weaknesses. Most importantly, though, is that I challenged myself to take more photos of people.
» I am a perfectionist, and this project forced me to accept that every photo was not going to be a masterpiece.
The Downsides of Project 365
» It took away a bit of the joy of making a photograph. On the days when I really struggled to find a shot, I hated taking a photo because I had to and not because I wanted to. I estimate that at least 10% of the photos in this set would have never seen the light of day if I hadn't needed a photo for the project.
» The project also produced a strong aversion to Flickr, but I know that it's temporary. As soon as I have a bit of a break to recover from the burnout, I'll be back to uploading photos and commenting on friends' shots.
The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
After reviewing the entire Project 365 set, I selected my favorite photo from each month. Click on a photo to enlarge it and/or read its description on my Flickr photostream.
Of course, the set also contains a multitude of subpar shots; however, the award for the top three just-take-a-picture-of-something-will-ya photos goes to these three barkers: 85.365 Fern | Helecho, 157.365 Hope for Spring, and 272.365 Late at Night. All I have to say is thank God for digital photography because I would have hated to have spent money developing those three shots! Well, those three and a whole bunch more.
Last but not least, I leave you all with this video compilation of Project 365 photos set to a sassy Argentine beat.
[Click here if you are unable to view the embedded video.]
I'm pretty sure I won't know what to do with myself tomorrow. I may just have to snap a photo for old times' sake.