And just like that, the year was over.
And while this particular version of a 365 project was less about photography and more about documenting so many moments in our son’s first year, the result of this particular daily ritual left our family with a collection of photos that we’ll always have to look back on and remember when…
These photos tell so many memorable stories for us – from early family road trips to all those unforgettable firsts in a young child’s life. They were captured, shared, and enjoyed by all of our loved ones.
Were they snapshots? Maybe. Are they treasured? Definitely!
I knew early on when I started this project last year that having this collection of images would be special. Looking back after the fact – comparing the world today to what it was when I was born – I can’t help but reflect back on how fortunate we all are to be able to do something like this.
If you stop and think about it, what would it have taken 30 years ago to do something like this? Polaroids, I assume (hey, I was only 1yr old, how would I know?) would be a first option. Fast forward 30 years, how would that shoebox of polaroids be holding up now?
A disposable camera? Maybe not back far enough (Wikipedia says about 1986). But say it was, a trip to the photo lab every 3 weeks or so? Or maybe you had your own camera gear and a wet darkroom. Late nights in between feedings and diaper changes, perhaps?
So here we are today. These pictures were all captured with a smartphone. Pause for a second – a phone. 30 years ago, our prized phone in the Nelson household was one with Snoopy standing up holding the receiver, and the phone on the wall in our kitchen was still the rotary kind.
A phone – in my pocket nearly at all times. And many were shared…instantly. No photo lab, no shoebox – real-time, online, and with near instant feedback from friends and family. Some of them across town, others hundreds of miles away, and even more 4,200 miles further still. I already said instantly, right?
While none of these photos are going to be printed on canvas or gracing the cover of a magazine, they were all effortless. Well, aside from getting him to sit still long enough on some days. Yet they’re still “real photos.” Not only did we make 4×6 prints for ourselves every month, my wife and I also made prints for our mothers as well. So there are 3 full albums out there documenting our son’s first year, day-by-day.
Shoebox? These photos are saved on Flickr, on our blog, some on Facebook, on iPods, my iPad, numerous backup drives, a First Birthday video slideshow, you name it. They’re always there, available at almost every whim. And probably not possible – certainly not as easy – no more than 8-10 years ago.
As a geek, the technologies involved and their rapid growth fascinate me. As a parent of 12 months now, the tech itself fades away and empowers me to share memories both now and in the future when they become special to him, and even his own children some day. What more could you possibly ask for?
With the end of one chapter comes a fresh, blank page.
In this past year – aside from the daily project – we did close to 2 dozen photo shoots with our son starting with one at six months. Those are the photos that go up on the wall. And those are the times behind the camera that drive my love for photography and my passion to push my limits and learn more every time I take the lens cap off.
So that’s what’s next. A focus on the photography, not just the moment.
I’ll post more details soon, but I’m going with a weekly effort this year, still capturing the growth and maturation of our handsome little guy. As one fellow photographer told me earlier in the year, I’m so lucky to have my own in-home models. Yes, I am.
Although our son will still be the star of this project, I am raising the stakes for myself. It’s a conscious effort to set a different stage every week, looking for new places and ideas for shoots. Trying out different techniques, using different gear (that’s the geek in me talking right there), you get the idea.
A year from now, when this next project ends, it will be more than just seeing how quickly our son has grown – it will be about how far I’ve come as a photographer.
It will be about the further evolution of my style for portraiture. It will be about how much closer I may be to making a living off of this someday. It will be about way too many tough decisions on the best shots to keep in my portfolio. It will also be about those weeks where things didn’t go well, or challenges that were faced and overcome.
So be sure to stay tuned for those details soon. If you’ve made it this far through my post here, odds are you’ll want to keep tabs on this new project as well, so expect frequent updates here as the ball gets rolling.
If you wanted to read up more about the Daily Baby Project and how it came about, check out the project page for more details. And if you had any thoughts or comments about the project, the photos, this recap, or have done something like this before and wanted to share – hit the comments box below. I’d really love to hear from you.
Mahalo, and here’s to another exciting year behind the camera!