I’ve done the 52 week projects before. I’ve done the 365 projects. Most of the time, they were disappointing. I’d realize at the last moment that I hadn’t shot a photo for the week or day and end up just grabbing some random emotionless shot to satisfy the requirements of the project. I’m not letting myself get away with that this year.
A few of the previous 365 and 52 projects were published somewhere. They went to either the blog, or a Facebook page, or Tumblr, but in the last few years I quit publishing them. I just dropped the images in Day One for my eyes only. They became personal projects. Basically, they weren’t worthy of sharing because the entire project became an uninspired chore.
When I lived in Portland, I was surrounded by people to take photos of. They didn’t have to be models–anyone who would put up with being in front of my camera was fair game. But since I moved back to Montana, it’s been more challenging to find willing subjects. It’s just a numbers thing. The Portland metro area’s population is just under 2.5 million. The entire state of Montana has just over 1 million people. The town I live in has a little over 700 at the last count, and the nearest “big” city had just under 60,000.
To make it more challenging, I work from home. I’m not around those people on a regular basis. To be clear, I’m not complaining–one of the reasons I moved back was because Portland was getting too crowded. But as someone who likes to take pictures of people, being in an un-crowded state creates a challenge. A challenge that, up until now, I haven’t been meeting effectively.
So I decided to do one more 52 Week project. This one will be 52 Portraits, though. 52 photos of different people. 52 opportunities to put friends, family, and strangers in front of my camera. 52 reasons to force myself to step outside my comfortable solitude and engage with my fellow humans. We’re not talking studio shots here. And I’m not going to be dragging big lights or backdrops or anything else around with me. Natural light, Lume Cubes, and maybe a reflector are all I’ll be packing around. It should be interesting.
Ideally, I’ll end 2020 with far more than 52 portraits. 52 is the minimum, but realistically it’s a good start. I’m hoping it lights a fire under my ass and that I get back to doing what I love to do.
If you read the Flickr/SmugMug post, you know I moved all 70,000 photos, so this year the project will be hosted on SmugMug.
* It would be helpful if you lived in Central Montana or Portland, but I’m not opposed to a little road trip or two.