365 Shadows, 365 Days In The Making

On January 1, 2009; I began a photography challenge that many others have done – a 365 conceptual project. The goal – a photo a day for one year chronicling a theme or idea. For me, it was a project with grand prospects and in retrospect an overly ambitious idea.

Initially I had intended to do a project that involved writing and photography. Something along the lines of taking a photo a day that would tell a story over the course of the year. However, the first challenge was to write the story – something I lacked serious ideas about. Secondly, just a few days before the New Year, the internet at my apartment failed and remained disconnected into NYE. As a project like this is tracked most easily and successfully through uploading a photo to Flickr everyday, I already hit my first speed-bump before I even started.

It was then, on NYE that I realized that I had another option. It didn’t seem overly challenging and would become the theme of my project. Without a reliable internet connection at home, I went to my faithful standby, something always connected to the online world – the iPhone. Using a few iPhone camera apps, I decided to take a self-portrait everyday for a year.

Then, on New Year’s Day, I decided to take it one step further – I would only take photos with the iPhone (at the time, the original 2G iPhone) and I would only take self portraits of my shadow. As I began my project, this is the description I wrote on my Flickr set for those that would view my project.

“This is my first 365 project. I’m not sure how I feel about the idea – it certainly isn’t the most original.

My goal is to take 365 shadow self portraits. The small twist is that I’m limiting myself to only taking the pictures with my iPhone. I will be using the following applications during this project: CameraBag and Mobile Fotos to take my photos and upload them here respectively.

I hope that using an extremely limited camera will force me to expand on my creativity of what shot I compose.

I hope you enjoy, what I HOPE is a challenging and interesting project for the next year. Please let me know what you think as the year progresses.”

As the year went on, I stumbled through challenges, found inspiration in unlikely places and even sometimes wished the project was over. Yet, through it all, I am now so thankful for the year and everything I experienced. During the year, I took photos in Madison, WI; Milwaukee, Chicago, Denver, Atlanta, and even a week’s worth of photos in Mexico. I had guest shadow appearances by my wife, my dog and even random strangers. I got the new iPhone 3GS and within it an improved camera and improved pictures.

It was a very rewarding and worthwhile experience – something I would and plan to do again soon. I love photography and this project has only advanced my appreciation for the art and inspired me to take on further conceptual projects. This project also had thousands of views for my photos – a remarkable achievement in my eyes as it got my work in front of complete strangers and people who just happened to stumble across my work.

Finally, thank you to Apple for creating a phone that let me do this project. Thank you to those the took the time to look at this project. Thank you to those who offered their support and encouragement throughout 2009. Thank you to my wife for reminding me multiple times to take my picture or get it uploaded before the day’s end. This was a great experience and I can’t wait to begin my next project – whatever that may be.

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  2. This is such an amazing collection! Very creative and highly imaginative. The perpective on some of these shots creates moods which capture the viewer.
    The shadow self-portraits has such symbolism too… It reflects self-knowledge and how one views himself.
    I am sharing this with friends and of course, Akeeya!

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