Project365 - 2012

Project365 – A Post-Mortem on a Year of Photographs


I began this project on December 31, 2011 as a touring stagehand and wanna-be photographer with a grand idea to take a photo a day and chronicle a year in my life. Just four months earlier, I had completely removed myself from the world of social media and decided to concentrate more on life in a tangeable reality and less on the digital world of Facebook. I replaced the chat boxes and status updates with phone calls and text messages, and kept up with a few friends and colleagues through email, etc. but mostly, I dissappeared into my real life to come to terms with who I am as a person and at times, who I am as a photographer and an artist.

In preparation for the project, I knew that if I ever wanted to actually take on this project, the year 2012 would be the time to do it. As it turns out it was going to be a year of major change; some planned and amazing, other abrupt and somber. Overall my personal life was flourishing more than it ever had before and for the first time, things in my head and heart were making sense; I had grown up, and wanted major changes in my life, and this was the year it all came together. From the get-go in Pittsburgh, PA in the early seconds of 2012, I knew this project was the right choice for 2012 and that my life had finally taken shape and set a course for happiness.



 

My amazing wife (and girlfriend at the time) had rented a car and driven 4+ hours to visit me for a New Year celebration, and the first photograph taken in 2012, the first photo in my project was one of us, together. Yes it was somewhat blurry, and may have been technically a less than ideally executed photograph, but it was the first one of 2012, and an incredible start to an amazing year. At the beginning of the project I created a statement of my goals and objectives; a mission statement or artistic statement of sorts that I hoped would govern and provide a focus for my project. Using phrases like “personally, or culturally significant” and descriptors like ”interesting friend” and” intriguing stranger”, I set out to do something that I had never really done before; take photographs of the world around me as a photographer… with a purpose. This purpose, my project, was the best thing I could have done. By creating it, I gave myself justification. I’m no longer just a guy walking around the city with a camera, now I am looking for today’s photo for my blog. While my little blog was far from the prestige of most newspapers, magazines, and mainstream blog publications, my photography finally had a purpose.

As a photographer, I finally had a purpose. I also had a few technical goals for the project as well. In my original statement I claimed to “intend [for] the photos I create throughout this year [to be] more than just quick snapshots; that they [would be] images with a much higher production quality and [would] not only add to this project but also help to build a more professional portfolio”. Looking back at the statement that I drafted before the project, I realize now how much I have grown. I have learned so much about photography, the importance of a defined style of a photographer, and the time it takes a photographer find, manipulate, and create his own style. This year long project was a great first step, but I could never fully accomplish this goal in a year. Finding a style is something that I will continue to work on for the years to come and will only come about with more photographs.

Some of the initial statements made were a bit ambitious, but rightfully so. Looking back on it now, I think it was important to go into a project like this with lofty aspirations. I began with a hope that after a year of constant photography I would be able to leave the project with images showing distinct growth in quality and subject and showing maturity in style and execution was a bit overwhelming. I think that the fact that this goal was so intense and so high actually kept it in the back of my head and pushed me to think outside of the box and create some images that I am truly proud of. I wanted to include some of the images that I am most proud of, both for significance in life, and significant improvement as a photographer. Be sure to click the Day # links to see the original posts as well.

 

 

Day #7 - The first portrait from MEMPHIS in 2012, and the first real portrait with a ‘produced’ look in the year 2012 was of Bryan Fenkart in his role as ‘Huey Calhoun’.

 

Day #11 - An afternoon spent in Hartford Connecticut chasing a juvenile falcon led to some interesting emails with the president of the company that made the softbox that the bird landed on.

 

Day #33 - Multiple exposure in camera of MEMPHIS’ own Rhett George, captured twice in camera with two different lighting setups, all done in camera.

 

Day #47 - Today is the day that I asked my best friend to marry me! One of the happiest moments and the best days of my life.

 

Day #53 – My amazing fiance Crystal put up with me while I took some self-engagement-portraits of Crystal and I today here in Greenville, SC.

 

Day #67 – Portraits of MEMPHIS’ own Austin Owen today included my first ever “Author Portrait”… now he just has to write a book.

 

Day #80 – Four photographs of a boring every-day activity [like shaving] were composited into today’s photo showing a simple task in a more interesting way.

 

Day #101 - Flowers for Grandma.

 

Day #127 - Passage of Time in St. Louis, MO. Taken from the rooftop of the Fox Theatre in St. Louis, photo 127 shows the passage of 4 hours while the sun sets over St. Louis.

 

Day #136 – In the off-season, I was locked out of the midway at the State Fair in Dallas, TX.

 

Day #139 – The most produced photo-shoot of the year. My MEMPHIS “Through the Mirror” series was a blast to prep for and to photograph, and I wrote a whole series of blog posts about the process!

 

Day #166 – You’ve heard of Writers-block, today's photo was my expression of Photographers-block… in gaffers tape… on the wall of my hotel room.

 

Day #198 – Today Crystal and I got married. It was a simple beach wedding with close family and friends. By far one of the best days of my life.

 

Day #231 – WEDDING PARTY Photo Booth. D700 shot through the viewfinder of a Kodak Duaflex camera that was owned by my great-aunt… I programmed a photo-booth to run from my laptop and snapped and printed photo strips at our “reception” in Michigan

Day #265 – This composite image was actually only posted on my facebook fan page, but it was built from 6 different photographs taken before and after the actual photo of the day of my incredible wife. Be sure to click the link to see those too.

 

Day #276 – Today Crys and I adopted a 5-month old torbie kitten and named her Gypsy. It seemed fitting.

 

Day #292, Day #293, Day #294 - Denver, CO was by far the most creative city that we visited this year. Three great photographs of three different artists.

 

Day #298 – Photographs taken for an article on Broadway trucking in the Sioux City Journal were by far the photographs that got the most exposure this year.

 

Day #305 – Halloween photograph involved carving pumpkins and playing with the optical slave mode on the Nikon SB900 that I used to light it. A quick pop of light from a flashlight was enough to set it off. Definitely remembering this one.

 

Day #317 - Repeating Flash is one of the effects I wanted to attempt this year, and a self portrait was the only way that I ended up attempting it.

 

Day #341 and Day #342 - Providence, RI proved fun for both a quick portrait and a quick post-show dancer photograph.

 

Day #353 - The end of an era is in sight… today I handed in the letter that would end an 8-year stint on tour. It felt amazing.

 

Day #358 - One last photo from the MEMPHIS tour involved stealing the decorated Christmas tree from the ladies lounge in the lobby… oops.

 

This project is currently being compiled into a print form, and has moved from the initial links to https://dswalecphotoblog365.wordpress.com 

Please visit it there to check out everything from the year 2012!