In January I began a personal photography project as part of 100 Days of Ten where participants do some activity (typically creative) every day for 100 consecutive days. I chose for myself a project of creating a double exposure photograph each day for 100 days. This endeavor, one hopes, will lead us to some sort of personal growth, whether that growth manifests as new skills or a greater appreciation of the thesaurus.
I’m fascinated by what you unearth in your psyche when repeating something day after day. As much as I’ve learned about the technical aspects of double exposure, the greater learning is internal. I am learning things about myself, and even about others, in watching the progression of this project. One learns about our ability to stick to things, our ability to rationalize “cheating”, our desire to be part of a community, or a desire to forge a new path. I’ve found myself feeling like I should ask for permission to make some choice, I wonder if it’s “against the rules” to do this or that. It’s funny to bump into this wall where you become involved in something and suddenly start giving your creativity over to rules that don’t exist, or a boss, whom, as it turns out, is your own mind.
Giving ourselves a narrow topic, like double exposure, and working on that topic each day for more than three months – you find all kinds of challenges. Boredom, illness, changing expectations, reordering of priorities, interruptions, shortage of inspiration, technical difficulties, forgetfulness. What motivates you to do this thing each day? What excuse do you make when you fail to execute? When you’re posting your work in a public arena, do you show your failures – the days when you took a photo of your kitchen window just to get the damned thing done? Do the “rules” allow a do over? If you miss a day can you do two tomorrow? Or do you extend the project by a day?
This is actually my second project in the last year, and I’m learning new things this time. One thing I learned from my first project was to “cheat”. I unofficially started my double exposure project several days before the official start date. I gave myself a bit of wiggle room to not have to shoot and edit on the same day. For me a big take-away is that I need to time step away from a shoot before working with images. That’s a discovery that translates to my business. I know I don’t want to shoot and edit on the same day, this is never going to be part of my business plan. I relate to my photographs differently when I have some distance and I have to give myself that space.
Here is an abridged first 50 days of double exposure:
If you would like to see my first project check out #100daysofdisconstruction on Instagram
My current project is on Instagram @lifeunstill or in the 100 Days of Double Exposure gallery