By Pat Glennon
Do something every day for a year and you're bound to get better.
It was in this spirit that I began my "Project 365."
In its simplest form, Project 365 involves taking a photo every day and publishing it online for, you guessed it, a year. I'm sure versions of this have been around as long as photography itself, but thanks to digital photography and the Internet, capturing a year in images has never been more possible.
I first heard about the idea last year. However, I had only recently started to take an interest in photography, so I didn't jump right in. Yet, as time went on and I learned more about the project, I began to feel it was something that I had to do.
Perhaps inspired by Bill Murray and his wonderful movie, I started my project on February 2, Groundhog Day. It seemed the perfect day to start doing one thing over and over and over.
(To see large versions of Pat's photos and read complete captions and explanations, check out the Flash gallery at the bottom. Click on the "full-screen" link.)
I hoped the project would improve my skills behind a camera, and it has. Along the way, the project has provided other benefits, too.
This is a wonderful way to chronicle a year and it has changed the way I see the world around me. I've noticed my appreciation for subtle moments each day has grown. I am tuned into the little things in the pursuit of images that preserve memories that might otherwise leave me when my head hits the pillow.
When you step back and look at the images, interesting patterns emerge. I appear to be far more comfortable taking photographs of things than people (the introvert in me, I suppose). I'd do just about anything to shoot without using a flash. And unbeknownst to me, I have an affinity for shooting shoes!
As I progress through the 365 days of the project, I have tried to capture "event days" as you might imagine. However, very often I have tried to do so without being obvious about it. For Valentine's Day, I chose to shoot a bank of cards at the local card shop. For a trip to Fenway, a standing room only sign and, not all that shockingly, my feet.
But there are other days when I look back on my work and smile, broadly. What's more, I find that when I go back months later and look my pictures, I am far less critical of them than I was at the time.
I have become a big proponent of the project. It is not just for -- or perhaps especially not just for -- avid photographers. You don't need expensive gear. I have completed my journey to date with a point & shoot camera, a Kodak Z650. It's not even my camera, but that's another story! On more than one occasion, the photo I published was taken with my camera phone.
Don't get me wrong: I'd love to get my hands on a nice DSLR. The point is, you don't need it to take on the project.
The beauty of digital photography is that you can just shoot and shoot. There's no film or developing costs to eat into your enjoyment and make you second-guess choices. Just shoot. You will learn. You will improve. You will have fun, and you will capture images that are meaningful, interesting, and valuable to yourself and to others. Just keep shooting.
Pat Glennon, 36, has built-in subjects for his photography: Four kids. He's a lifelong resident of the South Shore; he grew up in Weymouth and now lives in Rockland with his wife of nearly 13 years. He works evenings in the finance industry, which allows him to be at home during the day with his children. You can see more of Pat's photography on his blog, Annoyingly Boring?, or on his Flickr account.
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