Projects and Life After

I’m a little more than twenty days away from finishing my second year of Project 365. I find this to be an incredibly awesome thing, because the fact that I am this close to completing another entire year of photos is a pretty big deal. (Of course, just the fact that I’ll be done and can stop stressing about it is equally awesome.) I have done a whole lot better this year; I’m happier with more of my photos, and I can honestly say that (knock on wood) I haven’t missed a day, other than one or two that may have been taken just after midnight. This taking a photo every day has become a pretty big part of how I operate, how I think, who I am. So naturally, being the over-thinker that I am, I’m chomping at the bit, getting myself all worked up about what I’m going to do NEXT.

Here’s the thing: two years (with a few months in between) of daily photos is a lot of work. It’s exhausting. I’m ready for a break. However, I also know from last year that it won’t be very long before I’m feeling the urge. It’s become too much a part of my life to just… stop. But I’m putting this out there now, Internet: there will be NO YEAR THREE without at least a six month break. You have my permission to punch me if, in a month or two, I start talking crazy. Just direct me to the set of photos I’ve tagged “Project365 Can Bite Me What Was I Thinking Seriously? Year Two?” or the ones tagged “help we’re struggling we’ll never make it uuuughhhhh year two” to remind me about how much of a grind it was.

So the next logical question becomes: so what should I do instead? A few of my fellow Project365 alumns moved on to more manageable projects like 52 Weeks – some have taken self-portraits once a week (don’t really know if I’m too keen on that…) or found a tree and documented its changes each week (this is so cool, but I don’t have any pretty trees nearby). Some are even doing 100 Strangers, in which over time, you try to find 100 stranges to take portraits of. That’s just crazy. I’d like to get better at taking pictures of people, but I am usually crippled by shyness. Somehow it seems like if I haven’t yet forced my boyfriend to let me take pictures of him, I’ll be completely lost taking pictures of strangers.

The funny thing is that I was talking about this with Dan the other day, about how I was so stressed! About picking a new project! Because I want to start it in the new year so it’s even and orderly and neat! I’m running out of time! What should I do?! And with his calm, easy-going logic, he just goes, “Why do you have to do a project at all? Couldn’t you just decide what you feel like doing? Like if one month you decide to work on photos of a particular thing, then you just… do it. And change it when you feel like doing something different.”

Oh. So… I don’t have to have, like, an Official Project with a Group To Post To or Rules? Huh. Imagine that.

So anyway, I am still trying to decide. I like having a project, a neatly organized and numbered set of photos to look back on. But maybe he’s right. Maybe I don’t need an Official 2009 Photo Project. Maybe I’ll just resolve to let go a bit, and just continue taking pictures every day (or almost every day) and see where it takes me. Do you think my organizational tendencies could handle it?

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