I decided last fall that I needed to take some much needed time off in January and February. I think every working photographer gets to a point when they feel they need to just put the camera down for a bit and let their vision relax, let their batteries recharge, and get all their loose ends tied up so that they can begin again rejuvenated. I was at this point after a busy summer and fall, and I knew that I needed to take some personal time away from my camera. However, what I learned was that my camera has become so much a part of me that in the absence of client photo shoots, I began to feel a little like I had a missing limb where my camera used to be. I didn't expect the creative void to be so big and haunt me so soon after taking time off. I decided that I would get involved in a 52 week photo project (similar to the 365 photo project, but MUCH less overwhelming). Every week of the year I get a topic to photograph, and it's up to me how to shoot it. I knew this was going to be good for me, not only because it would keep me shooting and fluent with my camera, but also because it would challenge my creativity, which is something that I felt in desperate need of. After I began the project the first week of January, it became apparent that the seemingly endless cold and snow that seems to have forced itself on Chicago was going to prevent me from easily shooting these things away from my house. At first I was a little annoyed that I couldn't escape to grander views that would allow more opportunities for those "bigger and better images", but then something funny happened. I realized that without the pressure of producing images for business, my brain was able to relax and see the things I was missing right here under my nose in my own house. I spend a great deal of time shooting and editing images for clients that provide them with lovely memories, but sometimes that happens at the risk of losing the time to do so for my own family. I forgot how much I LOVE and NEED to shoot things that seem mundane and make them beautiful. I get so wrapped up in daily routines that I forget to stop and take it all in. One day my routine will be very different, I won't have kids to look after, and I will have time to go after those bigger and better images. But for the next 52 weeks, I have decided that not only will my own family be the primary focus of these images, but they will be taken in the context of our everyday life.
Things like tea parties with my daughter and her best friend (above) and other things like:
self portraits that show a very real side of me (without makeup and hair done---which makes me cringe, but that is what is REAL):
Or a favorite item:
A candid moment
The list continues to grow, and though I won't be sharing them all on this blog, I know that this project will probably turn out some of my favorite images this year. I am so glad I decided to do it, and I would recommend anyone interested in photography do it too. It's a great way to get the creative juices flowing and it is so rewarding (not to mention thereputic) to have your life documented as you see it through your eyes.