I’ll admit that I’m in a creative rut. And like any photographer that feels frustrated, there’s only one thing to do: go in a different direction. For well over a year I’ve been shooting hardly anything besides studio portraits. While I love that genre and the work that I’ve created in that time, I feel like my work has hit a wall creatively. After watching several photographers and filmmakers doing these a-photo-a-day projects, I decided to give it a go in 2017.
There are a few issues I need to work around for the project to be feasible. Namely, having a camera on me 24/7. Thanks to the new iPhone 7+ and it’s brilliant camera, I know I’ll be able to capture some decent images if I can’t or don’t want to bring my X-Pro2 along. Can you tell which of the images below were shot on the X-Pro2 and which were from the iPhone 7+? Speaking of which, I’ll likely use the X-Pro2 for almost all of it, and for a few reasons. It’s a small, unassuming camera that lets me shoot pretty much anywhere. One of the big pulls that Leica has had on journalists and travel photographers for decades, is the unintimidating look. Nikon and Canon cameras grew to absurd sizes in comparison as the 90’s and 2000’s rolled around. Fortunately, Fuji decided to build a brilliant little Leica-esque camera with DSLR functionality.
Aside from the friendly aesthetic, the Fuji is versatile and the lenses are fantastic. I can shoot in some seriously low-light environments and still get great images with the X-Pro2. The color and dynamic range just doesn't degrade like most cameras. And while I don’t have many lenses, I’ve been blown away by the 35mm f/2 and the 18mm f/2. These two small lenses handle just about everything I do. The whole system fits in a small bag or in a regular backpack with ease. Having the ultra discrete and ubiquitous iPhone, and the powerful, yet stealthy Fuji, I don’t see a problem having a camera to shoot the project with.
These “365” projects are all about using your creative eye constantly and capturing even the most mundane subjects or situations in hopes of developing your skills and creative capability. I won’t be shooting a portrait everyday. I could be bouncing around from landscape, to product, to architecture, to journalism in any given week. That’s the beauty of the project, you’re forced to experiment and shoot everything. While portrait photography and filmmaking are my passions, my end points, and my career aspirations, it all comes down to the quality of the work and I firmly believe that being able to pull from any genre will help dramatically with my work in the future. The images will all end up on my Instagram account so that I can share the project as it progresses and look back through the year.
I strongly encourage everyone to give a 365 project a try. Even if you aren’t in a rut creatively, it’ll help you explore new avenues for your work. I also recommend having some sort of theme to give direction. For instance, I've decided that the final images will be in a 2.35:1 widescreen aspect ratio to aid my composition in my short film work, even though I'm shooting a still photography camera. My photography, editing, and filmmaking will all see something from this project. Have you tried a 365 project? I’d love to hear from your experiences.