Look at that.
Photographs 331 – 365.
We did it. The #leesixtyfive project is done. Complete. A success.
As someone who is pretty good at starting things and terrible at finishing them, I’m both overjoyed and surprised that this happened.
When it started a year ago, I had no idea where it would go. Perhaps it would last a month. Maybe a week. Maybe three months. Maybe three days.
And now here we are, 365 days and 365 street photographs later. I’ve got plans and ideas for what I want to do with the images. For today though, it’s time to wrap this up with the final update.
It feels fantastic writing that.
The unknown point of no return
I believe it’s rare that any effort is ever truly wasted.
If you have a goal to lose 10kg and only lose 3, you’ve still lost 3kg. If I’d have quit this project after a month, I’d still have had 30 or so photographs I could have published on here.
The problem comes when not reaching your target means you go back to zero. If you lose 3kg and put them back on, you’re going to have to lose them all over again to get to your 10kg goal.
I don’t know exactly when it happened but, at some point, I realised how much I would regret giving up on the #leesixtyfive – because doing so would mean having to start again if I ever wanted to complete a 365 project.
I knew that if I quit at, say, 100 photographs, I’d be cursing the first 100 of any future attempt. I’m not sure if I could slog through them again knowing I’m only having to because I didn’t have the commitment to keep going before.
Wherever you are in your own 365 project, just keep that in mind. You’ve come this far.
Continuing to the end from here is easier than starting again.
Make it easy on yourself
There’s a question Tim Ferriss asks himself and encourages others to ask when trying to get something done too.
“What would this look like if it were easy?”
As someone who tends to place arbitrary rules on things I do, rules that invariably become impediments, it’s a question I should ask myself more.
Midway through the #leesixtyfive, I took part in another photography project called the shitty camera challenge.
I wrote about it all here and mentioned how I perhaps shouldn’t have done it. How it took me away from my own project and how I’d regret it if I fell 30 or so images short. In the end, though, it appears to have helped me get this thing over the line.
With less than 3 weeks left and around 30 photographs still to make, I needed a boost. Some sort of shortcut, even. So I asked myself the question.
What would this look like if it were easy?
The answer was to retrace my steps from the shitty camera challenge. I was pretty pleased with how a lot of those photographs had turned out, remembered well enough where I’d taken them, and even knew the best time of day to return with regards the light.
Check the shots from that other challenge and compare with the ones below. Different days, different people, but same locations.
That’s what it looks like when you decide to make it easy.
Under and overestimating what you can do
There’s a quote that gets bandied about so much I’m not even sure who said it first.
It might have been Bill Gates but I can’t say with any certainty. Regardless, it goes like this:
“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”
You can change those time periods to match your situation but the message remains the same. I changed them to one day and one year as I went through this project and found the message to be absolutely true.
When I look at the folder on my computer with 365 photographs in it, I find it hard to believe I made them all in a year. I know that I did, of course. I can remember shooting each and every one when I see them.
I also think back to days when I went out with my camera thinking I’d get a certain number of photographs and catch up with the project a little. And every time I did, that number was never reached.
I was overestimating what I could do in a day.
The point is, if you keep doing that but reach someway to your daily goal anyway, you’re going to have made an almost unreal amount of progress when it’s added up over the long term.
I’m not even sure what else to say about that. What else is there to say?
It’s just what happens when you keep going.
What’s next for the #leesixtyfive project?
That might seem an odd question for a project that I’ve been talking about how pleased I am is finished.
But the truth is it isn’t finished.
Making the 365 photographs was really just stage one. I have ideas and tentative plans for what I’d like to do with them now as a complete set, but we’ll have to wait and see exactly what materialises.
I shot more than 365 in the end to give me some leeway with which make the final cut, as presenting 365 photographs rather than a best of is something I want to do. Or have the option of doing, either way.
The egg shop photograph below was #365, by the way.
Now this final update is written, I can take a step back and reflect on what I’ve done and what I want to do next.
This Twitter thread explains how I felt immediately on finishing. At the time of writing, I haven’t picked up my camera since. A 365 project will do that to you.
A year ago tomorrow I started a 365 project which got named the #leesixtyfive. That start date means it ended today. Not long after starting it I realised doing it the traditional 1-photo-per-day way wouldn’t be possible so it changed to 365 photos in 365 days. (a thread 👇 )
— Lee Webb (@myfavouritelee) July 20, 2018
Finally… thank you for reading this and any other #leesixtyfive updates you may have done. If you’ve read them all, I salute you.
If you haven’t then why not start where it all began?