Folks! As of 2:14pm today, I've taken 365 iPhone images for my personal instagram project #lifeat214. I began late Fall of 2012, so obviously I missed a few days -- either I was photographing a wedding and it was an inappropriate time to whip out my phone or let's be honest, napping when my baby napped.
It was a little embarrassing when I realized that as a professional photographer I wasn't shooting everyday. And so I committed to taking a daily image at 2:14pm -- a time random enough that I assumed I'd be doing something different each day and I simply liked the numbers. The only self-assigned rule being that it had to be a "creative image of whatever I was doing." It didn't begin as a 365-day project but it's exciting to me that I've hit this milestone! Below is a sampling of some of my favorite snippets of time along with a few things I've learned throughout the process and tips on starting your own.
1. It's a lovely way to document life. Talk to any mother and you'll hear how she wishes she could remember every tiny moment. While I certainly don't, this project has helped me hold on to seemingly insignificant but treasured pieces of time throughout Ruthie's first 18 months.
2. It challenged me to truly document. While not completely photojournalistic in nature (I'd move things around or find better light), I did have an unspoken rule that things couldn't look perfect. So many images on social media often leave the viewer assuming that life for everyone else is picture-perfectly-professionally-styled-and-happy at every moment. That's just not true. And so the collection intentionally includes toddler tantrums, dirty dishes and clothes spilling out of dresser drawers. The challenge was to document life in a lovely way whether the context of my life was "lovely" or not at 2:14pm.
3. It encouraged me to use my time wisely. Taking an image every day starts to make one more aware of time itself. I like to think the project has helped me become more intentional about my afternoons especially.
Looking to start your own photo project? Here's a few things to keep in mind:
1. Pick something you enjoy. If you're not a foodie, don't resolve to take an image of your breakfast every day.
2. Be realistic. The purpose of a yearly photo commitment is to push yourself creatively whether that commitment is one of time, subject, medium, or theme. I knew if I took an image with my DSLR every day that I would spend too much time with settings and it was only a matter of weeks before they piled up on my computer, unedited. It wasn't difficult to have my iPhone with me out and about and ensured that I had less to be "in control of," making it a quick task that I enjoyed rather than another item on my to-do list.
3. Set reminders. My phone alarm sounded every day at 2:14pm. Sometimes I excitedly anticipated it and other times it caught me completely off-guard or while I was doing my best to calm a toddler fit... the important thing is to be consistent.
I took all but 2 of the 365 images. The first was early on in the project and I was consoling a very sad baby when my alarm went off and Ben captured the moment. The second, as you can see, I was clearly enjoying myself far too much to get out of the pool (thanks for the image @reikakadlec).