Painterly Picture of St. Paul's and the Millennium Bridge
London Skyline – The Conclusion to my 365 Art Project

It’s been several days now since my 365 project ended. Quite a mixture of feelings seeing it come to a conclusion. First, having been sick a couple of times during this project, there’s a slight bit of relief.  I was actually sick enough at one point that I strongly considered pausing the project for a few days. There were a couple of reasons I didn’t. First, I really wanted it to be a consecutive 365 days, and second, once stopped, I was afraid I’d never get the energy back to push on again. Sometimes inertia is too easy to maintain! The rules for the project were my own and not in stone, but I decided to stand by them.

At any rate, when that last picture rolled off the line, I was shocked. Was it really 365 days? I went back to check the counts, as I had flubbed the numbering a couple of times in the beginning, not missed days, but say put down 11 in my picture description when it was really day 10 or similar goofs. Most of those slips were early on, by the end, I was always careful to check the number on the previous day before numbering the latest. It would have been unpleasant to label day 365 and walk away, only to discover a week later it was really Day 362 when I stopped! Ha! And indeed, I even checked the calendar dates to be sure I was really done.

As with a lot of worthwhile projects, the end comes with mixed feelings. There’s a little relief that I can be sick or just have a bit of a rest from it. Yet, I also hope I can keep up the momentum I gained from committing myself to generate a picture each day. If you look back through the project, you’ll see that a lot of it wasn’t in fact, new photos. In fact, most of the new photos were probably from the days that I was either sick or in the midst of travelling. In other words, a lot of the completely new photos fell into the category of snapshots.

So, my project became one that was far more weighted towards photo-editing and sometimes re-editing again and again. I can’t tell you how often I have re-edited the same picture with a different take the next day or months later. And not always with a photo-art edit like the scene from London pictured above. Sometimes, it was a re-edit that simply took better advantage of the original photo.

Like any creative endeavor, photography and art in general, are crafts where practice is required. Each experience behind the lens or in the darkroom (digital or real) is an opportunity to expand our skills. And I definitely feel like my commitment to follow through with this project has benefited my editing skills. I still don’t think I could ever make it a year of actual new photos everyday, but I’m tempted to try a smaller project, maybe a month or so at some point. We shall see!

To anyone wandering by this way who is thinking of doing a similar project of your own, do it, go for it! The biggest risk is you won’t finish, but the rewards more than offset that risk! And don’t be afraid to set the rules to your advantage! If I had followed the typical 365 photography projects, I don’t think I’d have benefited as much (never mind actually completed it). The point wasn’t to force myself to follow arbitrary rules but to make myself do something creative each day.

Give it a try!

Thanks to those who followed the project day by day and thanks as always for your support! If you’d like to see the whole project, the link to the slideshow from my Flickr account follows.

Mark E Tisdale 365 Project

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