accidental calendar

366 – one-a-day: a complete month

Now that May has arrived, it’s time to start a new month for my one-a- day project, which therefore means I have my first complete month (it started on 6 March). So it seemed  a good time to reflect on what I’ve learned from doing it, so far.

It truly has become a journal. It’s an interesting exercise trying to sum up your day in one picture. Sometimes, I get a photo that’s spot-on. It captures and summarises the day – it maybe a place, a key event, my mood for the day, it’s rarely the same thing, but, what ever it is, it just fits. Other times it’s not even close. Perhaps too many different things happened to pick just one, I didn’t have a camera to hand at the appropriate moment, there was nothing remarkable to photograph, or what was important wasn’t photographable – there are many reasons (hopefully not excuses). However, the notion of finding an image to diary a day, has become a second tier to the brief, the purpose of the project is not now solely to use a camera everyday.

So, has the the output of the project changed?

Essentially, it hasn’t, but what has changed is the way I approach each day. Initially, all I did was try to ensure I had a camera to hand (preferably not the iPhone, but it is a handy fall-back). But now I find I’m planning more.  At the start of each day, I have a new todo, to remind me to take a picture,  but I also look at what else is on for the day. What’s scheduled? Where am I going to be? What’s the likelihood of good photographic opportunities? Oddly, if I’m going to be out on a photographic assignment – perhaps on a personal project, a class project, or out photographing pubs – that doesn’t necessarily make things easier – that activity might not be the most significant thing of the day.

There is now, however, an additional element, something I’d not considered before starting this project. I have never, in the past, given any of my photos titles, but I’ve done this for all the one-a-day pictures. It now seems to me an essential part of the project. To start with I did it fo fill in a field in the LightRoom template I use, but they ‘ve subsequently taken on a life of their own. They’re as much very short captions, as they are titles. Some of them are there to label the image, others help explain it (to me at least), but effectively they’re another diary element,. A one-word summation of the day – and choosing a title is often as much fun as selecting the image.

It’s an interesting development, however the more important issue is, has the project made me a better photographer? Right now, I’ve honestly no idea. There are some decent shots and a lot of poor ones. Has the ratio of good to bad shots improved? I think it’s too early to say, time will tell, let’s see what things are like at the end of the first year.

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