Over the years, I’ve learned that the intention of your art is just as important as the art itself. When you pursue something because others are doing it, your self-satisfaction and fulfillment are always at the whims of the status quo. Creative projects become necessary assignments to keep the attention of your audience. There is a constant scramble to keep up with the latest trends.
Ideas in your head begin as just a spark. Something catalyzes the chain reaction: a conversation you overhear, the melody of a catchy song, the cadence of a piece of prose, a photograph that evokes memories of your childhood. Whatever the catalyst, the result is a fraction of a second of brilliance that, if acted upon, could quite possibly change your life. These idea conceptions happen more than you think. We often confuse them as just passing thoughts.
I’ve felt a bit uninspired for a little while now. At some point my photography started to feel stale and unoriginal. Instead of feeling excited and challenged, I was just going through the motions. Everything I created seemed to be aimed more towards an audience of faceless people whom I would never meet.
Last July, I decided to embark on a simple mission: I was going to post a new photo on Instagram every day for one year. It’s called a Project 365, and the goal is to challenge yourself to consistently create and share something new with the world. Today is the last day of my Project 365. So much has happened in one year: I collaborated with makeup artists and hair stylists for the first time, I photographed my first wedding, I completely overhauled my editing style and workflow, I broke the five-figure mark in earnings, I upgraded my equipment, I found a full-time job, I left my full-time job, and oh, I got engaged :).
Here are some of the most valuable takeaways I’ve gained over the past year:
How liberating it is to relinquish the feeling of being owed something. To realize we don’t “deserve” anything in life. That instead of relying on others to validate what we do, we can simply choose to do something because we want to. Because we have something to share with the world. As if to say, “I made this. I hope you like it, and if not, come back tomorrow because I’ll have something else.”