One of the things I decided to do at the start of the new year but didn’t really talk about was to post a photo a day. That’s it, just a photo a day. No theme, no challenges, no list of things I have to take photos of, just take a photo of something every day and post it.
I’m posting them to Instagram, and you can check that out here.
It’s nothing terribly exciting. I’m not a fantastic photographer or anything, and frankly my schedule is often too packed to be able to capture anything that isn’t already along my accustomed game trails. I’m not performing any editing on the photos other than the cropping and filters native to the Instagram platform.
So why do it?
I’m not a photographer, so it’s not a way to get my potentially lucrative work out, and I don’t usually tag them so mostly nobody notices that they’re there.
Well, I’m not doing it for other people, exactly, although the fact that I’m posting them on a social networking platform does help keep me accountable.
As someone who blogs sometimes (both here and at barelysalvageable.com), photos are surprisingly important. The space has gotten so crowded that common wisdom states that you need photos on your blog posts. And it’s true, posts with photos get a lot more love on Facebook, etc when they have photos attached. It’s difficult to find good, free to use photos out there, so I reckon that even if I manage to maintain both this blog and the business blog on a weekly basis, taking a photo every day will provide me with pictures to use in service of this finicky behavior. I mean, if I’m making sure to take a photo every single day (and so far, as of this writing, I have), then at least a few of those will be worthwhile. This takes care of most (or all) of my photo needs, and does it with fresh content that hasn’t already been used to make inspirational memes.
But there’s more to it than that. This is also personal development stuff. I hope that committing to taking a photo every day will help me to be more aware of my surroundings, to seek out the beautiful (or the at least visually interesting, I’m told I have an unusual conception of beauty) in the everyday. This is useful; I tend to spend a lot of time wrapped up in my own idiocy and not enough time externally focused.
Since I’m also an artist, taking photos (or engaging in any of the visual arts) is likely to improve composition skills regardless of intention. Looking at things in terms of composition every day is practice, and that’s a difficult skill to learn without just doing it. I mean there are basic fundamentals of composition that you can learn from a class or a book or a website or whatever, but you don’t really learn it until you put it into practice, and I’m so out of practice with anything connected to the visual arts that I might as well toss all of it in the bin.
It’s not that I don’t love creating art; it’s just that it has become clear to me that it’s never going to be a thing that puts bread on the table for me, so I’ve decided to focus instead on writing as a trade. The result of this is that my spare time (such as it is) is spent on writing and writing related pursuits. And taking a photo a day is a way to cram in a little bit of practice time on this neglected pursuit without having to reschedule my whole day to fit it in. I mean, it only takes a few seconds to take a photo.
It’s been interesting and fun so far, to wake up each day with a photo on my list of goals. We’ll see how long I manage to keep it up.