June was kind of a tough month for the photo a day project; there was a lot of soul searching in what I was doing, why was I doing it and if it was still fun. In June month missed 2 weeks of photos being taken every day because I was really busy with the end of term? To be honest once I had missed the first few days I just placed the whole project on the back burner, instead of pushing myself to take the pictures. This was partly due to what one of the reviewers said at the portfolio review I went to at the beginning of the month;
“Why are you doing this, There is no message or narrative here, It just looks like a boy playing with toys, Just finish the project if it is just a routine.”
These comments hit me kind of hard; all the other reviewers had loved the project and gave constructive criticisms of the work, which I agreed with. Yet the last reviewer hit me for six. Of course he might not have liked the pictures, the idea and whole thing. Yet his words were not pointing at the craft but at what the point of the project was. Previously when I had missed a day I just took two pictures the next day in the morning early enough to be within the 24 hours and one in the afternoon. Yet this time when my work got on top of me I just went “ok then”.
I don’t disagree with the idea that the project has no narrative, which is kind of the point, each picture in itself being an isolated creation. If I wanted a narrative I would have planned the months out in advance. “Just a boy playing with toys”, yes I am, I am having fun with my camera (MY TOY).
I could agree with, “Finish the project if it has become a routine” because it had become more of a chore than a fun thing to do each day. I was and am getting bored with the creation aspect, so many of the prompts are becoming repetitive or just plain boring.
This apathy to the project has seeped through again to July, I went on holiday had no figures with me and so I missed a week of pictures. Instead of playing catch up I have decided that in July I will take a break. Yes, this means it is no longer a real 365 project, but then again it didn’t start out as one in the first place; it evolved into one. I want this project to finish on a high not me burnt out and sick of seeing the photos. I want them to go somewhere afterwards not just be on the digital scrap heap. Taking a break means I can come back fresh in August and finish the project one month late in October.
When the reviewer made his criticism I took it quite personally and it has taken a few weeks to really understand what his last point was. If it is no longer fun and just something you have to do instead of what you look forward to doing, then why bother. Maybe it was the tough words I needed to hear, but not what I wanted to listen to.
The Awesomeness of the Lego Project Will Return in August.
All were photographed with a Canon G10 using a combination of on camera flash, natural light and lamps. 90% of editing took place in Lightroom, if Photoshop was used it was usually for combining exposures. If you wish to follow the daily posts of this self imposed challenge you can on Instagram and you can see previous months here. Let me know your thoughts of June’s pictures in the comment box below.
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12 thoughts on “June Round Up Photo A Day”
Well I’m neither a reviewer or a professional photographer but my kids and I absolutely love your Lego series and look forward to seeing your next set each time. And why can’t the purpose and meaning just be fun and reconnecting with your inner child? Taking a break is a great way to recharge the batteries (I took a blogging break for July too) but don’t let someone else’s lack of comprehension block you.
I know there are a lot of fans of the series (including you and your kids) and since the other four reviewers liked the pictures I knew there was nothing wrong with them. Yet his words did cut deep.
I think and it is part of another topic is that there seems to be more value to the subject, narrative and meaning of modern photography than the actual craft and ability of the photographer. It is something I have seen a lot recently where the idea or narrative is topical yet the work is not so good, yet the theme trumps all.
Taking a break is what I need and it would be good for me and my project.
We had that very same discussion at the camera club I belonged to when I still lived in Scotland. Consistently in competitions judges would opt for images of gothic subjects or historical reenactment regardless of the quality of the photography or the editing. The arresting or different nature of the subject apparently trumped the merit of technical skill and a good eye. Judges would pass over far higher quality photos simply because they were of a landscape or a bird.
I would also say that as creative people we tend to be very self-critical and that means criticism lingers with us while we let praise pass us by. Perhaps that’s why the one negative review is rumbling around in your head.
I’m a big fan of LEGO minifigs in action. I read every post that the photographer at LEGO365 did (https://legomyphoto.wordpress.com/about/). Generally though, I wouldn’t take the time to read a blogger who posted every day because often they just don’t have enough quality content that interests me – whether it is words or photos!
My opinion, as a reader, isn’t what is important, though. A reader is just a guest at the Blogger’s online home. The most important thing is that the blogger is happy in the home they are creating. Hopefully after you take a break (something I’ve done a few times in order to find a new enthusiasm) you’ll rediscover the joy of photo blogging!
Blogging daily can be an issue for content unless you spend 100% of the time dedicated to the blog. I was happy with the project but I was getting bored and was less passionate about what I was doing. I do think that you have to enjoy what you are doing and if not then why bother. This project however is running parallel on instagram so, so It is not that I am taking a break from my this blog (aperture64), just the photo project.
+1 Laura! I too have enjoyed your Lego Project. I’m a bit biased though and love Legos, and have a little character of my own I use in photography from time to time.
These kinds of self imposed projects should be fun. Sometimes the energy level is low, the creative juices ebb and flow, life gets in the way. Taking a break is good, reassessing your goals is good too! If you find it’s no longer fun let it go.
I agree taking a break also gives my mind time to breathe and take in new ideas, sort of like a holiday for the brain. I also think these photos are fun and so do nearly everyone I show them to. The inner child sort of comes out.
I love your fun lego photos, Ben. 🙂
Thank you Amy.
I think that it is very important that any creative project we work on is something enjoyable, if after your break you still don’t find it fun – don’t beat yourself up about it. Making yourself do something you don’t enjoy will be evident in your work. Taking a break is a good idea, I read recently that our hearts rest 15 hours a day! (the aggregate of all the breaks the heart takes after each contraction) If our hearts can take that many breaks in a day and still do a phenomenal job, surely we can take and NEED to take breaks. 😀
Do you know something Ben, I don’t think it is a boy playing with his toys I think it is someone very clever enjoying his camera .. And we are so very lucky that you do!
Bravo!!! This is all a part of the creative process.