In the last 90 days, I’ve taken countless street photographs and uploaded 90 of them to Instagram.
And I’m still only a quarter of the way through the #leesixtyfive project.
That’s not me complaining. It’s more me putting into perspective where we are with this right now.
25% is a milestone worth noting. In different circumstances, 90 photographs would be enough for a book already.
Yet I still need to do what I’ve already done 3 more times to complete this project.
Once I’ve written up this summary of #leesixtyfive photographs 61 – 90 (and had something to eat) I’ll need to head out again with my camera to make number 98 (I’m a week late writing this).
So let’s get into it.
A multi-city photography project
Until now, every photograph in the #leesixtyfive project had been taken in Shanghai.
If you’ve ever been to Shanghai though, you’ll know that the beach images above and below are not from there.
They’re from a trip I took to Qingdao.
Home of Tsingtao beer and a decent seafront by Chinese standards, it’s worth a visit if you’re ever in China with time to spare.
Continuing the #leesixtyfive project wherever I went was always part of the plan.
I’m just hoping it won’t be another 3 months before the 4 photographs from Qingdao are joined by a few more non-Shanghai ones.
The difficult 3rd album
People talk about musicians and bands struggling come up with a 3rd album that’s worthy of their first 2.
Not being a musician, I can’t say why this happens.
But what I can say is this third chapter of the #leesixtyfive project was the most difficult for me to complete.
Whether the quality is there or not isn’t for me to say. I’m talking about the difficulty in actually making 30 photographs in the last 30 days after making 60 in the previous 60.
I kinda hit a wall. Motivation did wane. The previous theme of not shooting every single day – but having a window of 1 either side – has certainly continued.
When I wrote up photographs 31 – 60, I talked about the 20-mile march. About doing a small, achievable amount every day is better than a more make-hay-while-the-sun-shines approach.
I was enthusiastic about the concept, but also pretty theoretical.
The relative struggles in making photographs 61 – 90 have made me put it into practice.
I thought, briefly, about stopping. If I wasn’t enjoying it then why continue?
I’m glad it was only a brief thought. I continue because giving this up already would be worse than pushing through when I don’t feel like it.
It was a difficult 3rd album to make, but the 20-mile march has already gotten me some way into the 4th.
And I’m not stopping there.
Thinking about backgrounds more than subjects
When I started this project I wanted it to help me develop something of a style of my own.
It wasn’t something I wanted to force, though. Seeing how the work develops naturally throughout is going to be far more rewarding.
I’m also consciously trying to avoid making the kind of #streetphotography that does nothing to enthuse me when I see it on Instagram.
This is generally street photography where a single human subject is all the photograph has.
If photography is an art form then the composition needs some thought too. A lot of thought, in fact.
For me to come up with a street photograph I’m happy with every day for a year, composition certainly needs more thought than I was giving it before.
This means I’ve been thinking about the backgrounds a lot more than the subjects themselves.
I’m thinking about polygonal shapes on at least one plane in the scene. I’m thinking about the corners of my images. I’m thinking, pretentiously, about whether the photograph would make a good painting or not.
They may still feature the cliched person-walking-down-the-street subject. I’m just trying to compose a nice scene for them to be walking through.
Whether you think this is producing work worth looking at is up to you, but I’m happy with how it’s going so far.
The next chapter of my project and yours
Due to being a week late writing this article, I’ve already shot images 91 – 97 of the #leesixtyfive project. I think they’re shaping up well.
If you’re following me on Instagram, you might already have seen them.
And if you’re not, then why not?
I’m feeling good about this thing nearing the 100 mark. But, more than that, I hope it’s inspiring you to do something similar.
That is, a project.
It doesn’t have to be a 365 project. I wouldn’t blame you if it isn’t, having read what I just wrote about struggling through this month of mine.
But if you’ve never done any photography project of your own, or haven’t for a long time, maybe consider starting one of some description.
Consider giving yourself something you can look back on with pride one day, as I’m anticipating being able to do with this.