Brendan Shick | Freelance Film, Broadcast, & Digital Media

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What I Didn’t Like About Project 365

Jan 07 2012 by Brendan Shick Add Your Thoughts

At the start of the new year, I’ve not surprisingly noticed a lot of buzz about Project 365 around the web. The idea behind the Project 365 initiative is that participants take a single photo everyday for a year. Thus, in the end, they end up with an album of 365 photos. These can be, but are not required to be, all of a certain topic.

In theory, this gets photographers and even would-be-photographers out and moving. It gives them a reason to get out, practice, and hone their craft even on days where they don’t have a particular subject worth photographing right in front of them.

It’s a good idea. I’m a believer in the principle that an artist should seek out an opportunity for art rather than wait his or her whole life for inspiration to come to them. I’m also a believer in the idea that those working in professional media should keep their art flowing by doing their own personal projects even if it means “working” on their days off.

However, I tried Project 365 three years ago, and I didn’t like it.

I actually started my yearlong photography quest in December. I think I lasted til March, only missing a couple days along the way. I do have a number of decent pictures from that range of time that I wouldn’t have taken otherwise, but ultimately, I stopped the project because it wasn’t that productive artistically on a long-term scale.

When I made it my task to take a picture everyday whether I was inspired or not, two things ultimately went wrong:

  1. There were invariably days when I wasn’t inspired, simply because there was no time in the schedule to find a unique subject. This resulted in a number of days with uninspiring photographs, which brought discouragement more so than the artistic growth that was promised.
  2. Taking photographs became something I “had to get done today,” as opposed to something I wanted to do. It was a burden, not a blessing.

As someone with the blessing of being able to turn down work that doesn’t inspire me, and instead saving my time for projects that mean something to me, I’m not quite sure why I thought forcing myself to take pictures (sometimes literally of nothing) was a good idea.

I probably would have had better results if I had a more endless supply of subjects. Perhaps living in a part of the country with more unique, picturesque landscapes would have been better. Yet, as it is, Project 365 just didn’t fit my lifestyle.

Brendan Shick

Brendan Shick is a freelance DP, gaffer, and sports broadcaster serving primarily the Chicago, IL; Pittsburgh, PA; Grand Rapids, MI; and Fort Wayne, IN, regions. You can find out more by following this blog, his recent work on Vimeo, or by connecting with him on Twitter or LinkedIn. Brendan is also an occasional contributor to the Project Updates feed for one of his most recent films, To Turn Back Time.

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