Photo challenges – what’s stopping me?
In 2011 I decided to jump on in and take on the ‘Project 365‘ – take a photo and post it every day. It doesn’t matter what it’s of, it doesn’t matter how you take it, just do it. I thought I was going to be leaving Canada at that point and I could document some travels and getting back to Australia (but obviously that’s not how things panned out!) – in the end it was a pretty random assortment of stuff. Some days it felt like a chore, other days I’d forget and have to come up with something (usually not great due to it being last-minute). But I did it, and missed less than 2 weeks out of the entire year (you can see the set here, as the place I originally hosted it has shut down).
A year is a pretty long commitment for a project like that (and I think if I did it again I’d like to come up with a theme or concept instead of it being so random). Over the past year or so I’ve seen folks in my social media timelines taking part in shorter, month-long photo challenges. In particular, the Fat Mum Slim one pops up a lot and uses a prompt for each day to inspire people to create and share content (primarily on Instagram). My friend Laura’s been taking part in those and posting a weekly round-up of her terrific photos. I like the idea of the weekly round-up for the ease of it – I can take my time and not worry about posting on the day. But I also like the ease of perhaps sharing on Instagram daily (which crossposts to various places) to get feedback on each piece, and to be part of the challenge as it moves along.
But it’s not even how/when or even the theme of what I’m posting that’s stopping me. I lose momentum so easily. I was actually going to take part in the FMS September challenge and maybe post them here in blocks. I got three days in and that was it. Even without the pressure to share every day that got me down during the 365 Project, it was hard. And while the daily suggestions are fine, I felt like I couldn’t find what I needed to inspire me to hit the mark. It could be that life isn’t super interesting right now as I’m at home most days, and just trying to look for work. I would like a photo challenge to kick me in the butt to find inspiration even on those kinda days, though.
Perhaps I’ll try to drop back in to the FMS challenge and finish up the month posting daily on Instagram to see how it works out, and then come October I might be on a roll – or I might even set myself a challenge for October.
For those of you who take part in photo challenges, or thematic shoots over short/long periods, how do you stay inspired? Do you go out on photowalks? Do you get frustrated when you’re actively looking for something to shoot and can’t make it work? Do you just wait for things to find you, or go on a mission? I’d love a little cheerleading – I miss photography, even casually, as a creative output.