The 365 Project – One year on

Last year I wrote an article in the newsletter about the 365 project that a number of us had started on. For those of you unfamiliar with the concept, you set a personal challenge to take at least one photo a day for a whole year.

While initial interest was high, so was the attrition rate, and by the end of 2011 only Brian, Helen (who has just joined the club) and myself were still shooting.

Through the benefit of Facebook this little group was also expanded to include several other shooters from other clubs around the region. We have met twice for dinner to discuss how we are tackling the project. Last month we met and several of us have converted our photos into photo books. It was amazing to see the diversity of the images that had been taken.

When I wrote the original article I said that one of the advantages of the project was that it forced you to try out different types of photography and particularly that it will stretch you in areas where perhaps you do not consider you have a knack.

That was certainly the case for me. I would freely admit that I mainly like shooting people and events but when I broke down the images I had taken I discovered that the range was much wider. In fact I shot xx landscape shots when I don’t particularly like landscapes.

For me the major advantage is the fact that by forcing yourself to think of taking something each day, you actually challenge yourself to get better with the photos. What they say “that practise makes perfect “is absolutely true. The images below clearly show this. It is essentially the same subject shot a year apart. The image of the left was shot on 26 January 2011 while the one of the right was shot on 10 January 2012.

So I urge anyone to give it a go. And for anyone who says that they don’t carry a camera all the time I would challenge you on that. Most people have a camera on them at all times in the form of there cellphone. Five of the images in my 2011 set were shot with my phone and I very much doubt any of you could pick them out.

Nude Workshop with Brynn Cook

The genesis for this workshop came out of the blue when I received an email from an American model Brynn Cook who was visiting New Zealand and basically funding part of her trip by doing shoots on the weekend. Now I do not normally pay for models, but Brynn was stunning and I thought it was a great opportunity to organise a group shoot with a number of others.

In the end 5 photographers took part. I took the role of co-ordinator/timekeeper so that everyone had a fair run at the lights.

Brynn was an absolute professional and helped put the others with suggested poses.

What was really funny was that when we started I thought I would have to cast lots to select the order as I had assumed everyone would want to go first. In fact the opposite happened and I had to choose the order.

Grace – The Marilyn Shoot

In 1962 Brent Stern took a series of images of Marilyn Monroe that ended up being the last photoshoot before her death. I had long wanted to do a similar shoot and had previously discussed it with Grace when we shot a year before. I thought that the idea was consigned to the “maybe” file until I got a call from Grace telling me that she had lost 8kg in weight and wanted some new shots and did I want to do the Marilyn series. Hell Yes was the answer.

We arranged to meeting at Studio 9 in Lower Hutt which I had booked for the day to run a workshop. A couple of benches were pulled together and turned into a bed and a sheet of white metal served as a backdrop.

In keeping with the 60’s theme the shoot was done in black & white and I love the outcome.

Maly – The fabric series

After she loved the images from our first shoot Maly and I agreed to do a second shoot but this time with a studio session that was actually set up in her lounge.

For this series I had brought a number of lengths of different fabrics. The concept was very simple as I believe that great shots come from collaboration between model and photographer. Maly simply played with the fabric and I shot the result.

At the end of session I also took a number of close bodyscape type shots. Maly has a natural dark skin, which comes out absolutely beautiful especially when water was added from a spray. One of the images for this session was entered into a competition and won “honours”.

Pan De Muerto

This was another job through a connection. Pan De Muerto is a Wellington Bar/Restaurant specialising in Mexican cuisine. They also sell a range of clothing and the owner wanted to showcase a new range.

The shoot was set for a Sunday afternoon with a very fixed time as the bar opened at 4.00. Trip is a biker who has a very strong resemblance to Jessie James, and he told me that he had organised a motor bike to be part of the shoot. I was amazed when this beautiful customised Harley was brought it. That was therefore going to centre stage for at least some of the images.

The restaurant had amazing murals on the wall so we knew that we were going to get some great images. The crew were also great to work with and it shows in the final images.