IN MY OPINION
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John Lennon's Piano
The History of Late Night TV
7 Minute Sopranos
Wizard of Oz--Alternate Ending
Family Stories Vlog
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THE 365 PROJECT
20 May 2007
I never really thought much about it. It was another "group" to join that would encourage me to take more photographs, to be more creative with my photos. I didn't like the idea of taking a picture of myself every day for 365 days, but as I looked at the photos that had been posted to Flickr already, it just looked like fun.
As anybody who has known me for very long knows, I'm always the one behind the camera, the one looking for an excuse not to be in a photo, so this would be a big leap for me ─ 365 pictures of me, or of parts of me.
So I started the project the day that Dakota arrived. Me and a puppy. Good start, even if I hated the way I looked in the photo.
I began looking about for ways to make photos different each day. I don't have the imagination, body, or backgrounds to do kinds of artsy-fartsy photos, like some folks do, experimenting with shading, and "the look." People with big eyes make good subjects. People with squinty eyes don't, I learned.
There is a discussion group for the 365 group. And I discovered that people were always posting "mini-challenges," giving people ideas for photo taking: "Spring Fever," "Straight out of bed," "Housework," "iPod" (guess which of those two appealed to me more!!).
The thing was that as I read the mini-challenges and did some of them, I began to look more closely at what other people were doing. Amazingly clever people like James ("gaymay"), who has a wicked sense of humor and a good grasp of photo manipulation.
His "cereal killer" photo is a great example of his warped sense of humor and his photo celebrating 10 years of sobriety had a real celebratory feel to it.
He also recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of his relationship with his partner (another of those "can't possibly last" gay relationships).
Then I "met" Lynn ("irayholly"), who loves PhotoShop as much as I do and whose set of classic painting knock-offs is as hilarious as her regular pictures, such as the one where she talks about how this project is teaching her how to come out of her shell.
There are a host of others whose photos I check every day ─ "Amusings" from Massachusetts, who admits in her profile that "Yes, I'm fat. I know it already. I dislike Tom Cruise. I bet he wouldn't like me either because I'm 'glib.'"
There's "NanaJ," who not only posts fun photos, but who also introduced me to "The Alphabet of Life," where people post photos, one for every letter in the alphabet (I'm up to "C" today). This pool is not nearly as active as the 365 group is, but it's still fun.
It was a surprise to find "Fossil Freak's" photos on Flickr. She is a long-time journaler whom I actually met face to face at The Bitter Hag's house years and years ago. Fun to see her photos each day.
Judy, "the old shoe woman," posts photos of (among other things) her students, and it's always fun to see how different teachers work in different areas (not too many trips to peanut farms in this part of the counry!)
NancyKatzen is a nurse who is working with 3-D sonography. I figure we have something in common.
Rafael is from Brasil and though younger than most of the photographers I seem to like best, is a nice guy. I always have a soft spot for Brasilians.
The thing about this 365 project is that I've been posting photos to Flickr for about three years now, but I have never really felt a sense of community. But with posting a photo a day a couple of things happen. One is that I find I reveal more of myself, as I've decided that this is not going to be a "photographer's portfolio" so much as it is a photo journal (surprise, surprise). My intent is ultimately to print all the photos into one (or more) of those Qoop books so that I will have a printed record of this year in my life.
Because of making this a "journal," I reveal more than just my face. Pictures of going to the cemetery on the anniversaries, for example. A "tear photo" when I got emotional about Rosie O'Donnell leaving The View (OK ─ call me shallow!). People learn more about my life as if they were reading this journal.
At the same time, I am seeing the same names over and over again in the 365 Photo pool, so I am starting to learn about the ups and downs of the lives of others as well. You learn to care about what happens to these other strangers whose faces you have come to know so well.
I now keep a set of bookmarks of Flickr sites I check each day, just like the journal/blog sites I check each day, and am sorry that I didn't think of doing that until after the man whose son died during this project ─ I can no longer find his photos, though it was so painful to follow his nights at his dying son's bedside. (I suppose some folks might feel it was weird to record such a thing, but I understood it completely.)
Many of the people in the group started a long time ago and are nearing 300 days of the project. I'm wondering what will happen when we get to 365 and how that is going to affect this fragile photographic community.
Maybe when I get to 365, I'll start all over again. Who knows. But I hope to continue to keep track of these "invisible friends" even after they have finished their own year of self-portraits.
Big News: Google found a home today. We are down to "only" 5 dogs. Tipper's eyes opened this morning.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
"C is for Cleaning"
This is entry #2607