I have lots and lots of creative ideas, but usually little time, or not the right skill set, to fulfil them. Starting, and (even more so) completing, a project is often but a pipe dream, as can probably be evidenced by this blog. Last year however I set myself the project of taking a photo every day. This was in part inspired by the wonderful set of polaroids by Jamie Livingstone as discussed here. He took a polaroid photo every day for eighteen years (starting in 1979) until he sadly passed away. His friend Hugh Crawford has curated the photos into a website and a book and his site talks more about Jamie.
This is an extraordinary set of photos and I was in no way hoping to emulate them, but the idea of a snapshot of each (and every) day really appealed. I started on 1st Jan 2018 but for a long time didn’t tell anyone what I was doing apart from my partner @TallulahBass ; it was a ‘soft launch’ so to speak, partly because it would save face if I gave up after a couple of weeks, and partly because I saw no need to tell anyone, I was doing this for me.
I set myself a few rules.
- The photo had to be taken by me – seems obvious, but I wanted to rule out pictures of me, or just taking an image by a friend. Sometimes I have had to borrow a friend’s device in order to take the photo, but they are all by me.
- They should be taken on that day. Well, I may have had to stretch the rules a little on that one. For example, there are a couple that were taken after midnight, but before I went to bed.
- I wanted to post them on the day (on Instagram and Facebook)- but this has often proved impossible, for example when on holiday without wifi, so I settled for as soon as possible.
I don’t have a polaroid camera (I believe there are modern versions available now), but I also don’t have a smart phone. These days most people are permanently connected to their phones, and photos of daily life are ubiquitous. They are immediate and transient and in a digital age are taken without care. I come from the age of ‘film’ when you were aware that you only had 24 or 36 shots available on the film in your camera. So, taking a daily photo without a smart phone gave me limitations. I primarily used my ipad (which I don’t routinely carry around with me), or one of my digital cameras (usually if I was on holiday). This meant a limitation, and what I have come to realise as, a domestication of my images. Many have been taken at home, in the garden, or at the homes of my friends. There are exceptions of evenings/days out and holidays of course – but part of what I wanted to demonstrate was that most of us aren’t spending our lives living the high life, or permanently on holiday. A great deal of our time is taken up by going to work, and then coming home; not particularly exciting – but just as valid as a life lived. Also, if one if lucky enough to have such a home it should be cherished.
In January I was debating whether to continue the project, partly worried that with such domestication of my images that I would end up repeating myself. However, upon creating a printed book version of the 2018 photos I was delighted at being able to look through that year, and several images managed to evoke and remind me of days and events that I had partially forgotten. Although I wasn’t quite happy at the format in which I’d had them printed, so will need to investigate alternatives before the end of the year.
And so the project continues…