This week saw day 365 and the end of my photography project, 'Hello! Pleased to meet you'. The feeling of contentment that flows through me in relation to this project has yet to fully sink in. I honestly cannot say thank you enough to every person involved in the project, this is all of ours.
'Hello! Pleased to meet you.' is a portrait based project. I wanted to create the project for a number of reasons. The top of this list being the simple notion that I wanted to improve my portrait taking skills. A subject in every art form that has always held my passion. 'Hello! Pleased to meet you.' was my third attempt at a long term portrait project. Armed with the lessons learned in the previous projects, I started the endeavor with this goal:
Take a portrait of the person who influences my day to day life throughout 2014.
Not only has 'Hello! Pleased to meet you.' left me with with the strongest feeling of fulfillment, I picked up a few other things along the way. The project taught me how to prioritize in order to achieve what I wanted. The importance of finishing something I start. The necessity of working with others and the emphasis of keeping social – the lesson that I consider the most valuable. Of course, these were all things that I knew before working on this project but knowing something and actually putting something into practice on a daily basis are two very different things.
I can safely say that long term projects help in every area of your life. Working freelance, I find myself consistently in a changing environment. Having the daily task of taking a portrait had filled the last year of my life with the strongest feeling of stability. Everyone worries about the validly of how they spend their time. Every night for the last year I went to sleep with the thought of no matter what life threw at me that day I still had scratched, 'TAKE A PORTRAIT', off my daily to do list.
The project made me social even when I wasn't exactly feeling it. It made me leave my comfort zone at times and it brought me to new places. For certain milestone moments, it made me think about who I wanted to share them with and it always brought a smile on someones face when I shared the alternative motive of my invite for lunch. A few times of course this smile was replaced with the line, "Please dont tell me you are about to take out your camera here".- Another thing I learned - Overcoming obstacles leaves a damn fine taste on your palette.
Of course the project had its obstacles. I used be slightly intimidated asking certain people could I take their photo. I was worried that I would be greeted with a negative response that I didnt want to hear. I quickly discarded this thought and decided that in order to succeed with this project that I needed to ask the person that I honestly felt was my influence for said day. Im not saying that people didnt turn down my request, but even when they did, I was always happy that I tried. The other obstacle that the project saw was that some days I just didnt meet anyone that really influenced my daily life. This was overcome with the project having about fifteen self portraits.
A few unplanned and motivating moments happened along the way. At the beginning of the project, I was asked if the photo of one of my favorite people could be used in an article. Also in relation to printing, on a shoot a few months later, while I was debating if it was professional or not to ask a client for her photo -she was my daily influence after all, I ended up getting new business cards. Read that article here. The most motivating scenario that the photos were getting used for was peoples profile photos on social networking sites. In a world that is slowly and surely getting more disconnect due to constant connectivity, I took having someone using one of the photos as their online representation as an accomplishment.
I would once again like to say a massive thank you to my family, my friends, my clients, and to everyone else I met while strolling with my camera this year. To all the kind words, the beautiful messages and motivating comments that have aided this journey from the beginning. This isn't the place to announce my new photography endeavor in full but I will happily state that it will take some time to finish, it will have a strong reportage element to it and it will definitely be keeping me social.