Why 365?

On 6 March 2010, I started a 365 Challenge - that is, undertaking a personal challenge to take a photo every day. I chose the theme, I set my own rules - and my initial rules were that my 365 Challenge would be of pictures taken in my 1-bedroom apartment.

I'd seen other photographers do it, and wondered at the time if I was willing to make that sort of committment. I really didn't think I'd have the time. Hell - I was as busy as anyone else out there!

But, 278 days into into it, taking a photo everyday has become the exception rather than the rule. It now feels wrong if I don't pick up my camera every day. Ok - there have been a few days where I have not taken a photo - whether it was busy-ness, lack of motivation or whatever, there were a few days when the project waned. But, for the most part, this has been one of my most enduring projects - certainly in terms of doing something daily, and doing it publically.

For me, doing the 365 Challenge has represented a number of things - a photographic journey, but more importantly, a daily pictorial journal of stuff going on in my life. Sometimes we take the minutiae for granted!

I have always been a prolific writer and journaller, but since starting my 365 Challenge, I have never written as little as I have in the last 278 days - perhaps it's no coincidence that this blog started in May - a couple of months into the photography project. I love writing about what I'm passionate about, and my 365 Challenge has certainly been evidence of my ever-growing passion about photography.

There are heaps of resources about how to do a 365 Challenge - this post from DPS has some great ideas to keep you motivated. It suggests you use a theme each week. That certainly might be one way to go about it - mine has been far more random than that. You can also join groups on Facebook to keep you motivated - I did that for a bit, but ultimately found more motivation in doing my own thing. Sometimes it's a tedious thought - "Shite - I have to take a photo today". Other days, I'm full of ideas and can't find enough time to shoot what I want to shoot.

My main goal in the 365 Challenge has been to make everyday things look interesting - or to at least shoot everyday things in a different way. I've learnt a whole lot about what my cameras and lenses can do - and I continue to learn as I go.

My 365 Challenge has seen my photography journey progress through lens upgrades, camera body upgrades, workshops and gadget purchases - none of which I'd ever have anticipated when I took this initial photo of a Moroccan rug on Day 1, in March last year.

Now, I turn to Flickr and other photo-sharing sites, to seek out new ideas, and ask "how did they do THAT?"- and that becomes part of my challenge - seeking out new techniques, new effects, new potential styles.

I'm still not sure I've found my own style, or am any closer to knowing where I want to take my photography - if anywhere but beyond the hobby it currently is.

But what I do know without question, is that doing a 365 Challenge is awesome fun - at times funny, sad, frustrating and exciting - but it's something I want to see through to completion, and then ponder my next batch of photography-related goals.

Oh - and what happened to restricting my 365 Challenge to my apartment? I caved on about Day 100 - I was travelling a lot for work at that time, but also feeling a tad restricted by the subjects a 1-bedroom apartment presented - so I expanded my project to the big wide world. Hey - it's my project - they're my rules, and I can break them.

If you're pondering doing a 365 Challenge, or even a weekly or photography challenge, just get in there and do it. If you miss a few photos, don't stress - just get back into it and keep going. Remember at all times you're doing it for fun!

So...qhat are your photography goals for this year??


  1. Mel! I love your photo uploads. Enough that it has inspired me to do a 365 challenge...but mine are self portraits! Arrrghhhh! If I expect other s to enjoy being in front of the camera, then so should I!

    You are wonderfully talented and committed and although I am checking you 365 challenge at the tail end....I love to get in and have a look ALL THE TIME! Well Done!!!!

  2. Hey Sara, thanks for your comments! Great that you're doing a 365 self portrait project. That's a really interesting take on it - good luck, and I look forward to seeing your pics :).