Special to Flip the Media by Evonne Benedict
A few years back I set off on my first 365 journey – a mission to take a photo a day, EVERY day, for a year. I decided to do this for a few reasons – I wanted to become a better photographer, I wanted to teach myself how to develop a new habit, I wanted to see the world in more visual way.
My husband has been a professional photographer (video and stills) his entire adult life so I knew I had a good teacher and coach close at hand.
But it turned out to be much harder than I expected. Still I persevered and at the end of the year I had 365 photographs scattered across my blog, my photography website, my Facebook page, and in my iPhone. It didn’t matter that they weren’t all in one place, it only mattered that I had DONE IT.
Six months later I tried again, but failed. It just wasn’t in me. I needed a new reason, and I couldn’t find one. I still took photos, lots of them, but when and where I wanted to.
Now I have a new reason to do a new 365. I have a story I want to tell over a one-year period, a story that will read best as a series of photographs.
Knowing I could use some friendly guidance, one day I posted on my Facebook page, “Anyone planning a 365 for 2014? May need a support group.”
And so it began, more and more people signing on and bringing their friends in until there were 119 of us. (so far) We have members all over the U.S., Canada, and even Europe and Japan!
Two who signed on, Elizabeth Wiley and Aaron Weiss, joined me in organizing our photo-a-day support group which we now called ‘365 in focus.’ We have a Tumblr group site (365infocus.com) a back-channel Facebook group, a front-facing Facebook page, Twitter, Instagram, hashtag (#365infocus) and a great group of people embarking on this project together.
How did I talk Aaron and Elizabeth (and everyone else) into this?
Here’s Aaron: “Go big or go home, right? I want the accountability, and I want to look back every month knowing I’ve got 2 or 3 portfolio-worthy shots I wouldn’t have shot without the group 365.”
And Elizabeth: “If given the chance to jump into something new, I’m going for it. I also really value being a lifelong learner. This project seemed like a great platform for that. It’s going to force me out of my comfort zone while also providing this great support network. I’m really excited about how much more this has already grown than any of us expected.”
This is a photography project, but it’s also a friendship project and that’s what I am most excited about. We’ve told the group there really are no rules. It’s okay to miss a day, or a week. It’s okay to use whatever camera you want. It’s okay to have a single theme, or not. The key is to support each photographer wherever they are on their 365 path.
Check back with us in a year (or at any point during the year) to see how far we travel together.
Evonne Benedict is a native of Seattle, long-time journalist at KING 5, and an amateur photographer married to a professional. She writes: “I love bringing people together on a project and collaborating to make everyone’s work better.” She is also known for pioneering the use of social media in her work at KING5 and has been a guest lecturer on that topic in the MCDM program.