Here I am!
I’m back with week two of my 365 Days of portraits done and dusted! Gimme a hi-5!
So… what did I learn this week?
- I guess it’s gotten about 20% easier to approach people. I find it best when I just charge up to someone without much forethought – it’s when I loiter, overthink and dilly dally that I let my self consciousness get the better of me.
- I got my first “no” on Monday. And yeah, I didn’t die from rejection. So there’s a victory.
- Three of these pictures were taken on outings where I didn’t have my camera so had to improvise with my phone…hence the poorer quality. Yep, I know, I know, a photographer must carry their camera EVERYWHERE…see, that’s all fine and good unless it’s a Friday night and you know you’re gonna be out till gone midnight dancing up a storm and consuming a decent amount of beer and you only have a tiny bag and you just can’t risk losing or dropping the very nice camera. Yeah?
- A few double portraits this week – just by accident really. What often happens is that one person catches your eye and sometimes they come with someone else attached. I admit, my first instinct is sometimes “oh I’ll just crop that other person out later” but once I’ve engaged them in conversation the ‘other’ has then become part of the project and I couldn’t possibly consider leaving them out.
- I am trying to be conscious of mixing up gender, style/ angle, age and location. However, saying that…
- …two photos this week were taken at, local bar, the Darkroom. I promise that they were taken on separate nights (I have witnesses who can vouch for this!). And yes, I did go to the same bar twice in less than a week – once for music, the other for stand up comedy. The place is a right proper “Neu-Chch” gem, and you should check it out if you haven’t already done so.
- This project, for me, is becoming something of a visual diary, a memory slideshow, of what I got up to each day. In years to come I think it’s going to be good and use it as bookmarks of great nights out, events, nice walks on summer days and good company. It’s just another unexpected and rather lovely side effect of a project that started as something else altogether.
Okay, here’s week two, you lil’ punks…
And, remember, my full 365 Day Project can be followed right here on Pinterest – where I endeavour to update every day or two.
Be good xox
And so it begins…
…with the start of a new year, I really wanted to create some clear creative goals for myself.
Last year, when I started all of this, I went easy on myself. I dipped my toes into my new creative life with pretty general goals like “one creative activity per day”.
And that did its job. Here I am now, almost a year on, and I’m doing multiple creative things on most days without even giving it a second thought…so for 2014 it’s time to step things up a notch, move out of my comfort zone, and get specific.
The idea of a 365 Day Project is one that’s appealed for a few years now – the premis is simple; pick a topic, a medium, an activity and do it every day for a year.
The most common medium, and the one I’m heading off into the distance with, is photography. However it was my darling neo-craft-beau-friend, Merinda, from Hello Lemon, who throughout 2013 completed her own magnificent 365 Day Challenge, that was my real inspiration.
Merinda’s project “365 Days of Words” was an illustration or piece involving inspirational words each day…illustrating something like this each day is a shit load of work, and it blows me away. I met Merinda half way through 2013 at a market – our eyes locked across a crowded hall from behind our respective stalls and it was love at first sight (well for me, anyway).
It’s been really interesting following Merinda’s progress over the last 6 months, both online, via her social media posts of the project, but also through talking to her in person about it, which included the harsh realities and struggles that you can expect with such a challenge. You should check out “365 Days of Words” here. Hello Lemon also produce the most kick-ass greeting cards, prints and notebooks.
On Dec 31, Merinda completed her 365 Day Challenge, and I was so utterly happy and proud for her that I could only imagine how good it must have felt to have actually been the one who had completed it…so with that I decided it was my turn.
My 365 Day Project is this: A photography portrait a day. Day 1 and 365 will be a self portrait (to capture the ravages of time during my 30th year) otherwise everyone I feature must be a stranger.
I picked this parameter for a few key reasons:
1. It takes me out of my comfort zone to a massive extent. So much more than the alternatives of self portraits or allowing myself to capture people I already know. Every day I have to leave the house, I have to carry a camera, and I have to actually think about where I’m going and what I’m doing.
2. From a personal aspect, having to approach a complete stranger a day, completely cold, can only do good things for your confidence and social inhibitions. It was all well and good deciding that this was what I was going to do…but come day 1, when I actually had to go and find someone…it was pretty nerve wracking!
3. I will *hopefully* become a more skilled and imaginative photographer. I mean, doing anything every day for a year has to improve your skills, right?
4. From a “let’s analyse society” point of view, the cliche is true – we pass hundreds of people a day that we don’t acknowledge, look at, let alone talk to. I recently bought the Humans of New York book (from the wonderful blog of the same name) and immersing yourself in all of these photos of strangers and their stories really makes you realise how little of the world you pass by and how everyone has their own story to tell.
Creating this daily goal of having to capture a complete stranger means that you spend your day scanning the faces of everyone you pass, trying to find your chosen subject. Once I have found and approached that person and I have explained what I’m doing, asked their permission, taken their photo, asked their name, then striked up a short conversation – then suddenly, within the space of two minutes, that person isn’t a stranger anymore.
I’m gonna meet a minimum of 365 new people this year! They are going to impact my life in that they will forever be part of my project, and I hope I impact theirs. Okay, I might piss some people off, but I hope I might make someone feel good too.
It was only once I took my first photo that this “social” aspect occurred to me – and as you can see – it’s the point I can talk about the most and now, one week on, feel is the most important point of the exercise
So yeah, it started as a creative journey…but I’m hoping it will end up so much more.
I’m going to post my photos on a weekly basis – one week at a time. You can also follow my entire project on Pinterest, where I will be updating my board every day or two…
It was originally just going to be a photo and a name, but again, on taking my first portrait, a conversation was struck up and it was so good that I had to include a portion of it – much like Humans of New York. I love the idea of capturing a snapshot of that person’s life. So, where I can, I will also try and include a quote or snippet of our conversation.
So here we go…
365 DAYS OF PORTRAITS: WEEK ONE
Okay…well now I’ve posted this, I guess I have to stick with it, don’t I?
Last weekend I was fortunate enough to participate in the Lost and Found market, as part of the second annual FESTA (Festival of Transitional Architecture).
FESTA is one of the best examples of what everyone likes to call “New Christchurch”. You know, heart-clutching-spangle-wow-happy-good-shit that makes me smile, feel warm feelings and say “YES! HELLO! THIS IS WHY I LIVE IN THIS WEIRD MOTHERFUCKING BROKEN EXAMPLE OF A CITY”.
Because it is. Whatever way you look at it, Christchurch IS a weird place right now. I love it to death, I can admit that now. But it’s still a strange old place, like no other on this earth. But we’re now talking ‘weird’ as in ‘Mighty Boosh weird’. You know; a good, surreal, exciting, creative as fuck and sometimes, if you’re lucky, a really magical ‘weird’.
You can read more about FESTA here.
These are the good guys.
The other thing I love about events like this is that I feel I am perfectly justified to don a cape, leopard dress and top hat adorned with birds then prance around all night being my own boss, drinking whiskey from a hip flask, dancing, loitering in photo booths and meeting many many cool people.
Yes. For six, goddam, beautiful (if not slightly chilly) hours, I had my dream job!
Enjoy the pics – it really was as illuminated, surreal, sparkly and exciting as it looks.
Don’t they say something about how traditions don’t just happen, that they are made?
Since my parents left Christchurch, I have found us developing a new tradition as a family – whenever one of my parents come to visit, they, myself and my brother make something of a pilgrimage to the site of our old family home.
They left a little over a year ago, and the house was demolished shortly after. The land, along with every other section located along the river, and nearly everything else located in the suburb of Avonside, has been bought by the Crown . We like to think that one day it will be a big nature reserve or something. At present demolition is still underway, and insurance battles are still being fought.
Anyway, this is not a glum post, nor are these trips to the land negative or overtly emotional. We just go to say hi, walk the land, talk and generally see how things are progressing.
What is very apparent is that whether the EQ Recovery Authority decides to make this area into a park or not, seems completely irrelevant now, because nature is going ahead regardless. Nature reclaimed this part of Christchurch on the day of the first earthquake, and now she is giving it a whopper of a makeover, Tyra style.
The manmade fences and walls which the bulldozers left behind, dividing one section from another are being felled by honeysucke, vines and bramble – they push through the gaps, scale the upper ledges and in six months I think we will struggle to determine where the boundaries once lay.
Shrubs, trees and bulbs that the home owners spent years battling to get established – feeding, sheltering from the elements and waterings – are now thriving free from human obstacles and interference.
Wildlife is abundant – birdlife is everywhere, there are insects in the natural ponds that have formed and today I even saw the biggest rat scurry along the top of the remaining fence.
I’m not saying it’s not sad, it doesn’t hurt at times, or that life has turned out how we all planned – but it’s progress. And it’s important we go, we remember, but we look forward. As nature is showing us, life keeps moving whether we like it or not – therefore it’s best to not worry and simply appreciate the here and now.
Avonside, you are beautiful.
Now if only I could get up the guts to go back to my own red zoned property, to see if that still stands, we might really be getting somewhere!!!
Enjoy the photos…great to see you, father. xo
Phew! Well blimey, wasn’t that just the best fun a girl can have fully clothed?
So Queen Stitch made her live debut last night at the Twilight Vintage Market – I’ll be honest, the Larry David in me was a little anxious of this unfamiliar social situation, but the sun shone, the beer flowed and literally everyone was so bloody nice and scrumptious – I could kiss you all right now!
Thanks to all who attended, took the time to look at my work and gave me such positive feedback. It’s quite comforting to know that after so many many maaaaany hours sitting at home stitching away, strangers from Chch and all over the world actually understood and liked my work!
The fantabulous Miss Alice Anderson from Our Tiny Landscapes was the perfect co-host, and our coordinating beehives were snapped by a number of tourists, so if all else fails perhaps we set up some kind of 1960’s rockabilly girl group tribute act in Japan?
My next project is setting up my own store on Felt, so watch this space…
Enjoy the pics from the market xoxo