Back in May I wanted to challenge my creativity and consistency so I revamped a project I'd put together last August. The project was called SPEDIM, or Self Portrait Every Day in May (or August, as it were). The goal was simple: take a creative self portrait every day. The only rules were that they had to be taken on my DSLR and had to be creative, no selfies allowed!
When I came up with this idea last August I only lasted about 11 days, so I didn't really know how hard this could be. There was a bit of combined inspiration for this project, first from Leon Bridges's photographer Erin Rambo who uses light more beautifully than I've ever seen, and second from this YouTube trend called VEDI-insert-initial-of-month-here, which is a project in which people make a video every day for a month.
First things first, I very much do not like having my photo taken, even by myself. I'm not a huge fan of taking selfies and I feel a bit uncomfortable posting a lot of pictures of my face. It's a lot of attention just on me whether people are responding to the images or not. So I had to confront the idea, whether real or self-imposed, that people might get sick of looking at my face.
Also, creativity. It's difficult to come up with a unique, dynamic idea to keep people interested every day (and not fulfill my fear of getting sick of my face). What I began to do was take ideas from artists that I admired. Not so much in an effort to copy their work, but to expand my creative capacity. It's been told that Hunter S. Thompson rewrote The Great Gatsby and A Farewell to Arms word for word in an effort to get a feel for what it was like to write "The Great American Novel," I wanted to know what it felt like to take "The Iconic American Photograph."
It's also incredibly difficult to feel up for taking self portraits when you're ill. I caught a pretty intense sinus infection about 4 days into this project, but I was determined to keep going. But the question became "how to I take creative self portraits when I look like death?" Well there were a lot of shots that obscured my face for two weeks!
If you're looking for a way to improve your confidence as a photographer I would definitely recommend taking up a project like this (even just for 10 days, like Adam Elmakias's Instagram challenge that starts today!). I found a lot of confidence and tried a lot of new things I otherwise wouldn't have considered.
What has helped you grow most in your creative endeavors? Leave a comment or tweet us @mjbhomeent!
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