One would surmise that a move from the bustle of the city to the desolate seaside would effect one’s mood, which in turn effects esthetics. This was absolutely the case for me - It lead to a complete shift in the focus of the project. Previously I was focused on post-production, and only worried about the basics on the production-side. But with the change in environment came a change in priorities - I now knew that I needed to refine certain techniques.
The feedback I received throughout the year was incredibly beneficial, though I found sharing my work daily to be the biggest challenge. It began to weigh on me - anytime someone asked me about my inspirations, or “what app did you use to make this?!” I cringed.
People told me “these new photos just aren't as creative as early on,” and I would have to just smile and quietly not disagree. But, internally I was screaming but but but these are so much improved and have so much more thought and just because I didn’t shrink myself or overly composite it doesn’t mean its not creative! I was crazy bitter. I just wanted it to be over.
The project had consumed so much of my life that I really began to resent it, and even some of the people supporting me along the way. Obviously this wasn’t a healthy or fair response, so somewhere around 200 days in, I came to the realization that this project began for me to better myself and my skills. I decided to ignore the commentators, and focus on only my goals. That isn’t to say that the ones rooting me along were not important - they were consequential. It is much more likely that I would have given up had I not received comments like “45 to go!” or “can’t wait to see tomorrow’s!” I just couldn’t let these comments dictate what was important about the project; and what was important to me was becoming more proficient in my skills. Simple as that.
That realization formed the remainder of the project. Each photo was made in a way that tested a theory. What if I put the gold reflector reeeeeeally close to my face at a low angle? What if I cloned the entire background in a repeating fashion - would that look like a magic eye? What if I toned the whole image with cyan? While to many a lot of these images seemed redundant, mainly because my positioning was the same, the background was the same, and even hair and makeup was the same, I knew what I zeroed in on, technique-wise. I know that I see those images in an entirely different way that anyone else.
As the days wound down, the motivation waned. I was ready to be finished, not to mention another new chapter had begun. As I write this, I am seated in my flat in Rome, where I have been since the beginning of the month. The project was no longer necessary. It had accomplished what it had set out to do - it had forced me to flex my creativity muscles, and I am now at a stage where I feel confident in my talents. Of course there is so much more to learn; there always is, but my Imposter Syndrome has always been a beast I’ve battled, and I feel like I’ve finally won, at least a little.
I’ve now walked away from a year long commitment (and anyone who knows me personally knows that that is an achievement in itself) with goals met, skills refined, and coincidentally, greatly improved make-up skills (💁🏼).
To bring a full ending to this whole ordeal, I want to thank everyone who encouraged me throughout the year. As I stated before, the support was overwhelming and crucial.
tl;dr: took a picture of my face every day for year. it was hard. it was worth it.
To see all the photos in the series, click here.