People will often say that their whole lives flashed before their eyes after they experienced a traumatic event. Perhaps it’s a bit morbid, but we think that sounds pretty incredible.
When Taylor McKnight started taking a photo a day on January 1st, 2004, he never imagined the project would not only serve as a way to remember a year, but also help him understand what was important to him in his life.
Whether it was his relationships, his career, or his fashion sense, recording a photo a day for a whole year left him with a rich visual history of his life. And it made him a better photographer to boot!
Now that he’s in the middle of doing it for a second time, we asked Taylor to write about it for us. Read on for our tutorial on how and why to create your own daily photographic history.
Photography isn’t just about capturing a moment, it’s also about seeing the ordinary in a new light.
A wise photo teach of ours once told us that no matter where you are, no matter how ordinary your surroundings may appear, there are always great photographs to be made. You just need to figure out where and how to look.
Here’s a fun exercise for gaining new perspective on the ordinary: examine how your world might appear to someone much, much smaller than you. Whether your star is an old G.I. Joe, a Barbie, or a mini Steve Jobs, this exercise is sure to give you fresh eyes.
Here are a few examples to get you started:
Last week we told you that the video mode on your digital camera was a fine way to make yourself a flipbook. It is.
But wanna know the real reason your camera records video?
It’s so you can enjoy a good laugh while making friends and loved ones look silly.
You see, when you hold up a camera, people expect you to take a photograph, not a video. So flip your camera into video mode and pretend like you’re taking a photo. Feign technical difficulties while your bud tries patiently to hold his smile and you’re virtually guaranteed an amusing minute or so of strained footage.
Life is too short and too serious not to play the occasional practical joke. And trust us, you’ll both laugh about it afterward.
When you were small, you got to read books full of big, beautiful pictures.
But as you grew bigger, the pictures grew smaller. Eventually, words replaced them altogether.
If the rise of the graphic novel is any indication, we still like our stories better with pictures.
Here’s a fun project that marries our love of words and photography: Go through your photos and find an event with lots of shots (your friends hanging out, a party, a vacation, whatever.) Now pick five photos, give or take, that tell a story when put in sequence. Ideally, it should make sense without any words.
Your story may be true or made up, silly or serious. The point is to look at your photos as narrative building blocks. To put a new spin on it, next time you’re out with your camera, consider how the photos you’re shooting would look in sequence. Or start with a plot and take the photos necessary to illustrate it.
Published on July 24, 2006 — See more Photo Projects
We’ve seen your vacation albums.
You and your brother/mother/significant other, squinting in the sun and staring glumly at the camera, pleading for it to go off.
What if we told you that there’s a magic word that will make any posed photograph leap off the page? Four magic letters that will bring a smile to the most tightly pursed lips?
The project’s curator puts it simply, “It’s been a long time since any of us jumped for anything… jumping makes people smile.”
This weekend, spend some time outdoors, explore a new neighborhood, hone your portrait-taking skills, make strangers smile, and walk away with some amazing photographs.
Sound good? Then we’ve got the perfect photo project for you!
Armed with a camera and a few simple tools, you too can conquer the art of the impromptu street portrait. Find out how in this simple tutorial by our friend Youngna.
If we could turn back time, we’d find a way to make our parents follow the annual ritual that Diego Golberg has been practicing since June 17th, 1976.
His aim is simple: to take a single portrait of every family member, every year. The results are jarringly beautiful and thought-provoking.
25 years collapse in an instant.
You can breeze through this in a second, if you want. But do yourself a favor and spend a few minutes really looking at these faces.
We think it’s never too late to start this photo ritual.
(BTW: Our friend Ely notes, and we agree, that Nicolas has clearly become a player by 1998.)
Ever feel like you need a boost of artistic inspiration? Something to jolt you out of a creative rut? We’ve got just the thing.
Miranda July, the woman who wrote and directed the delightful “Me and You and Everyone We Know”, publishes quirky “artistic assignments” that get you thinking outside of your norms and acting creatively.
Remember art class in elementary school? Finger painting and collages and pottery wheels? This is like that, but ten times more fun.
You’ll be surprised at how good it’ll make you feel.
Here are some of our faves:
Assignment #11: Photograph a scar and write about it
Assignment #27: Take a picture of the sun
Assignment #30: Take a picture of strangers holding hands
Assignment #39: Take a picture of your parents kissing
Assignment #50: Take a flash photo under your bed
Set aside some me time and dig into a few. There are no due dates, and you’re guaranteed an A+ in feeling good.
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