Last fall, I realized that I liked photography. I think it was on a ferry, when I took my camera up to the top deck and realized it was fun to take pictures even if they are not necessary or embarrassing to the subject. I started taking pictures for the sake of taking pictures, even though at the time I had an awful camera and not much knowledge about photography. I started learning, took books from the library, and got a new camera for Christmas, which I absolutely love. Somewhere during that transformation, I realized that I didn't just like photography, I had started to love it.
On the first day of January in the new year, I stumbled across Project 365, which seemed like a wonderful idea. Home schooled kid, needs art, loves photography and would like the commitment. It seemed too good to be true (and it was free). Immediately, I started uploading and taking more photos, and I realized why I loved this thing so much in the first place. Project 365 is not about the one photo that you post every day, it is about the 27-ish awful photos that you took to get to that photo that you posted. Anyone who takes a couple, and sometimes a lot, of pictures per day is bound to get better, even if they don't have lessons or Photoshop to help them.
At first, I tried different effects, and was always messing with my photos to make them better. As I continue, and approach 20% finished, I have almost stopped editing my photos at all. I like their raw quality, and I would rather build a solid platform of knowing composition and lighting than learn fancy effects. Of course, I would love to learn all those Photoshoppy things, and I know I will, but for right now, the 365 days are enough.
I have learned that the 365 community is a tight knight group, and I love it. There is always someone there to say that you are amazing, and there is always a place to put your "Craptastic" photos and hopefully give someone else a laugh. There are people doing the entire project with their worst photos and admitting to it, and others who are professional photographers who manage to take masterpieces every day. I love the balance, and I love that most people on 365, no matter what level of expertise, love to take photos. I have also learned that 365 is what you make of it. When I spend half an hour idly searching photos and commenting, I get comments back. On days when I forget to post, there is no one to make me take a picture but myself.
Now I have found how to balance everything, or so I think. I take time to find new people and help them start their journey much like so many people helped start me. I procrastinate like crazy with the Discussion tab, and I write thoughtful comments instead of just saying "Great!"
Although my pictures may not be incredible, I can guarantee that every single one of them was taken with love. Every time I pick up my camera, I feel happy, and I am glad to know that at 365 I will be surrounded by people just as passionate as me.