Group Project 365: A Year in Review
My goal was to find six more participants so we could “own” a day of the week. We’d have one photo per day to critique and 365 photos by the time we were done. As of Saturday, this project has now come to an end.
We didn’t quite hit the goal of 365 photos but we did create around 275 unique and often compelling images. It proved true to me that giving yourself a project can really accelerate your learning in a subject. This format even added a group dynamic that became part peer review, part experience sharing and part competition. All of which kept us motivated and creative.
A Learning Project
I knew I’d never have time for a “traditional” 365 project where you take one photo a day for a year and post it somewhere. What surprised me and others, however, was how tough it became to create even just one photo a week.
What it did for us is ensure we scheduled real time for practicing our hobby of photography. It also got us to conceptualize shots we’d NEVER do normally. This pushed us creativity while simultaneously fast tracking learning on topics like lighting and Photoshop.
Many of the original group members fell behind and some had to ultimately drop off. Luckily we picked up some willing friends along the way kept moving forward. In all, there were 11 unique contributors to the project (some old friends of mine, others became friends by virtue of their participation).
So, if you’re new to photography, I strongly suggest you consider giving yourself a project. It doesn’t have to last a year but it must have a schedule of some kind … one that forces you to get things done. And it should to have at least one constraint to spur creativity.
It may seem counter intuitive but constraints really do unleash creativity. If you had to shoot all-macro shots for a month, I bet you’d create the most unique and interesting shots of your life… even if you’ve owned that same macro lens for years.
For our project, the themes we selected created the required constraint. It definitely made it more challenging and fun. I was always excited each to week to see how everyone would interpret the same theme. Sometimes two people landed on the same concept, but usually everyone had their own creative take.
A Few Favourites
There are too many amazing photos to highlight from the past year but here’s a few standout contributions that might be of interest. Be sure to see everyone’s contributions by browsing the entire archive at: http://learningdslr.com/365
Outstanding Technical Achievement
Ideas of March by Adam Khodadeen (theme: Movie Scene)
Outstanding Creative Concept
Kill Bill by Catherine Le (theme: Urban Decay)
Long Exposure by Adam Khodadeen (theme: Vivid)
Sheikh Zayed Road by Aaron Del Duca (theme: Lens Flare)
Outstanding Street Photography
Crazy Dave by Patrick Roy
Outstanding DIY Setup
Ocean Water in a Glass by Vinh Tieu (theme: Water)
Outstanding Creative Lighting
Graffiti by Jason Office (theme: Lighting Experiment)
My Own Personal Favourites
Here’s a few of my own submissions that I’m most proud of…
Our final theme was “Self Portrait” and I was pleased to discover that my final submission garnered a big reaction on my favourite photo-sharing site 500px. For the first time, my submission rode the “Popular” roller coaster and made it as far as page 2 of the “Popular” list with a peak rating of 98.2 out of 100. I was a nice way to end the year.
Split Face by Philippe Dame
In conclusion, thank you to everyone that participated, it was a great year! If you were thinking about starting a project, there’s no time like the present. Don’t wait for someone else to get you started!