365 on 35

This post didn’t start out as an annual reflection, but large amounts of coffee have a way of bringing out thoughts I didn’t know I wanted to share. Since this project is about being a little more open and making ideas a little less precious, here it is anyway: my reflection on 2017, and some new ideas for 2018.

If you just want to check out this new thing I’m starting, just skip down a little to “the project” section.

I can’t not brand it—right?

I don’t know many that would deny the strangeness of this past year. It was a struggle for all, but I’ve seen so many positive things being done by people in response. Personally, I went into it with this intense ambition to do the most good I could. To get more involved in my community, to make the best creative work I could, to make something happen that I was proud of.

So, how about a recap:

  • I fully fundraised and rode in my first Pelotonia: 45 miles and $1,500 for cancer research, which you can read about here. Oh, and I photographed the opening ceremony and met former vice president Joe Biden and the other speakers.
  • Contributed throughout the year to my favorite creative community in Columbus, CSCA, volunteering as an event photographer and helping out wherever I could. We all made some amazing things happen this year.
  • Spent an unbelievable amount of time and effort pulling together Making Midwest Fest, as a photographer, web and print designer, and event organizer, to a wonderful turnout and a lot of first-time lessons learned.
  • Completed a few CSCA Gives Back volunteer projects; most notably, for Flying Horse Farms.
  • Got hired as a full-time, real-deal designer (in the retail field, that honestly, I knew very little about).
  • Got myself ready to pursue freelance (aka side-hustle) design and photography jobs — and did a few as well.
  • Collaborated with friends and other creatives, made time for a few side projects, and participated in a few gallery shows. Notably: Pinchflat, where I made my first serious screen print (thanks Upright Press). Beautiful Words at Blockfort, with the first of many collab pieces with Faith. And CSCA’s Pinewood Derby—Hub Scout edition; my second car, and my slowest. To be fair, it’s a little hard to move fast when you’re racing upside down.
  • Attended Cause Collab, and made sure it was very well documented (naturally, in collaboration with Autumn Theodore)
  • Squeezed in one last GIF report (my best work, really) and saw Wonderball 2017 come to fruition during my final month with Fulcrum Creatives
  • Won two awards for Making Midwest and Fulcrum projects, and one for volunteer of the year at CSCA’s Creative Best. I’m not usually one for award competitions, but clearly this group is important to me.
  • Made sure my voice was heard at protests and marches, through phone calls, emails, petitions and donations when able.
  • Spent a ton of time hiking, in nature, and on a road trip or two.
  • Kept a (mostly) consistent workout schedule throughout the year, whether in the pool or on the trail.
  • Started shooting, developing and scanning my own film again for the first time in years.
  • Didn’t kill half a dozen plants (my thumb gets greener by the day).

Ok, maybe that is a lot.


Anyway,

I know I’m not the only fish swimming upstream these days (comes with the territory of being even a little aware of current events), but 2017 brought a stubborn creative block not quite like one that I’ve dealt with before. While it wan’t my first post-college year (significant because that’s the obvious point where I stopped living in an environment where I was constantly surrounded by creativity and possibility), it was the first in which I started to have days and weeks that felt totally deprived of creativity, despite the really solid amount of side project work I had going on.

To return to an idea I haven’t thought about in a while (looking at you, thesis), I can’t say that in 2017, I’ve been in a place of creative confidence; an environment and mindset where the ideas flow. More of one of necessity, reactionary action, and doing the most with the cards dealt. So, for 2018, I’ll resolve to get back to that mindset. And to help with that, a daily creative challenge.


The project

I’ve been hooked on the idea of doing a daily art project or creative challenge for a while, but I’ll admit I’ve been indecisive about subject matter for some, and convinced myself I wouldn’t have enough time or discipline to follow through on others. So instead I’ll pull pieces and parts from a few of them.

I love the 100 day project and many of the monthly or weekly art challenges that pop up all year for the way they force you to make deliberate time for creativity every day, and for the way they force you to think in different ways and get more experimental as you burn through initial ideas and get better and better with the chosen medium.

(my trusty Canon AE-1)

I’m also interested in 365 photo projects, 1 second per day video documentaries, and street photographers (especially the classic, old-school, film-slinging documentary artists) for the end result. An incredible body of work made from so many small moments, where each is represented equally, and where nothing gets forgotten. I love the idea of documenting my life in a more tangible and open way.

365 on 35

So, details. In 2018, I am going to (try to) compose and shoot one photo, on 35mm film, every day. I’ll shoot the same film stock throughout, will keep brief notes on each shot, and will post them publicly on a monthly basis (after I develop the month’s film, of course).

Kodak Tri-X 400, Pushed 1 stop to 800

I’m hoping that this will help make documentary photography (even more) normal and second-nature for me, that it will make me better at finding and creating compelling images even from very mundane subjects (and even on uneventful days), and that by the end, I will have a really unique, wholistic document of my year in review.

It’s also an effort to make sure that every day has, at the very least, one moment of real creativity — even if it’s just one frame — and to work on the state of my own creative confidence. Oh, and similarly to writing this post (which is very unlike me), it’s a stab at being more open and sharing more in an authentic, less curated way.

Wish me luck!

Thanks for reading — and the film is ordered, so when you see me around this year, do make sure I’m keeping up with this thing!