This year, the Pandemic Year, is my third year of doing a 365 Project. If you’re not familiar with what a 365 Project is, it is a personal goal of taking one photograph per day, every day, for 365 days in a row. The goal of this project is to document my family’s day to day and truly focus on the beauty in the mundane. As a Boston Family Photographer, I sometimes hyper-focus on wanting to shoot only in the most beautiful light. This project forces me outside of my ‘creative comfort zone’ and has helped me grow so much as an artist.
What’s it like doing a 365 project during a pandemic? I’m not going to lie, it can be tiresome. During a “normal” 365 year, there are lots of exciting breaks from shooting in my own home. There are little trips to friends’ houses, different playgrounds, splash parks, the beach, a vacation or two. During a pandemic these are all nearly (or fully) impossible. We basically have two things we are doing as a family: staying home and going into the woods. Photographically speaking, it can be tiresome!
I feel thankful that this pandemic occurred when I was on my third year of daily shooting since it’s pretty engrained in my daily routine by now. I feel for those artists who have begun their journey in 2020. It’s not an easy project to follow through on and this year is extraordinarily challenging!
I don’t have any extraordinary advice for continuing to pick up your camera day after day. My number one tip is: just do it. Even when you don’t feel inspired and even when your kids are in their pajamas for the fourth day in a row. Pick it up and take a picture! There are so SO so many days over the last three months when I have not felt like shooting. I forced myself to and then ended up creating something I loved (Please note the pajama-clad children below).
My second tip for continuing to find inspiration is: use a different lens. Think about whatever you’d normally reach for and choose something else. My go-to lens for adventuring with my family was always my 24mm. During this quarantine, we’ve spent a LOT of time in the woods….which can be boring to photograph. I’ve started forcing myself to bring my 85mm instead. The two lenses have very different looks and it kept me practicing and interested.
My last tip is: experiment. Now is the time to do things you would not have normally tried. Shoot through a household object. Lay on the ground. Get on a ladder or shoot from a second-floor window. Get under a blanket or shoot in direct light. Shoot first thing in the morning and last thing before bed. Some things will work and some will not– that’s okay! Soon things that were outside of the box will become comfortable enough to incorporate into client work. What could be better than feeling like you’ve grown as an artist coming out of this?
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