365(366)

Sometimes late is better than never.

I’m here with the final recap of my 365 photo project… which finished, oh you know, a month ago.

Life has been in the way. I wanted to get this recap written and on the blog, but I was not motivated. In the past month I’ve done things like buy a house, move in, begin painting and all sorts of other little things related to home ownership. I’ve worked on finishing up a major component of my graduate program and moving on to the next piece of that (never ending it feels right now) process. So I have many excuses. But perhaps the biggest one has been a lack of wanting to sit, reflect, and write. Those three critical pieces of blog writing have eluded me of late.

But enough on that for now! On to the recap.

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I loved this project.

Not everyday mind you, but when I go through the photos and reflect on the past year of my life… it is amazing to have a photo for everyday of it. Well several photos really, since I always took more than one photo a day. Yes some days trying to take an interesting photo, or remember to take a photo was just a little bit tedious, but in the end I am so glad I have the visuals to go with all my memories, or to even spark memories I’d forgotten. So much happened for me this year, and I had a lot of fun (a few tears, a couple trials…) and to have it marked by a photo project is just icing on the cake. When I started this project, I wrote about how I thought 28 would be a good year, and it really was (self-fulfilling prophecy perhaps?) . I’d done a lot of inner work in the past few yeas, and I feel like in 28 some of it paid off (though to be honest I don`t think the inner work piece of living and growing and changing with time ever goes away).

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In terms of having a year long project, this one was pretty easy. With smartphones we can easily take so many pictures. With apps like Instagram we can make those photos look pretty stellar without purchasing expensive photo editing software. In the past few years I really avoided goals, but this was a nice, easy and different, way for me to start having goals in my life again. In the past my goals would focus so much on health and wellness, (interpreted as healthy eating and exercise) that I’d burnt myself out. That was a familiar way for me to goal set, and a familiar part of life for me to focus on. Returning to my roots (so to speak) has offered me new terrain to consider. Art, writing, non-food and non-fitness related activities are something that used to be so important to me, but took a back burner after high school and the focus on being thin, and “healthy” took over. It has been nice to reconnect to that. But it has also been a reminder that I have been connected to that all along; I began painting during my time on the North Island. I have been writing (journals) since high school. I have never really stopped, but I am focusing on those things again, as an essential part of my being.

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Now that the project is over, I’ve been waffling on what comes next. Earlier in this post I mentioned why I have not written in some time; life is busy. What most amazes me, reflecting back, is how much this project acted as a little anchor in my day, pulling me to reflect on what was happening around me, what had happened, and what I wanted the world see (and I mean this in two ways: out of everything in my day, what was the photo-memory worth highlighting? And as social media was the medium, what did I feel comfortable having just any random person see?). So what’s next? Well I have high hopes to use these photos for something – most likely to make some wall collages in my house. People have also voiced interest in a calendar – not something I can see myself having ready for 2017, but maybe 2018.

I wanted to highlight that while this project was amazing, and I loved it despite the days of crap-what-shall-I-photograph, I did have one negative outcome. This project highlighted, and I would say heightened my mindless use of social media. Now I love social media, I have a blog, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest… but this year I found myself mindlessly on those apps a lot. And I don’t like it; to feel a small emotional twitch while not really doing anything and to immediately go on my phone, despite having been on it just moments ago is not how I want to respond to life. The feeling of mindlessly consuming media is something I do that has been irking me for sometime. So how i want to handle this moving forward is something I really want to look at, and (hopefully) change. Many people talk about unplugging; either getting away from screens for certain times daily, or weekly or taking long extended breaks. This appeals to me. But so does making sure my use of social media has meaning and purpose (like writing this blog – useful for me, perhaps interesting or useful for others).

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How do I end this post? Honestly, in the end this is project is just a series of photos, over the course of a year. I can now say for certain that nature is my muse, and I love landscape photography. This is also what I love to paint, so it follows me through all my art forms. I have really enjoyed photography as an art medium, and while this year was more of a “quantity over quality” kind of year, as the year progressed I thought more about making sure my pictures were more focused and better quality then I did earlier on in the project (I took a lot of crooked photos early on…).

So, here it is, a month late, and well into my 29th year, but the final recap of a year in photos (366, this was a leap year after all). You can find the other quarterly recaps here, here, and here. If you follow me on Instagram I hope you enjoyed what you saw. I hope if you are doing a similar project you will let me know. And may this year be just as good as last year.

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