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Project 365: Complete – Poems, Pictures & Prose by Saaleha Idrees Bamjee

Project 365: Complete

At the beginning of 2016, I committed to completing a Project 365 (366 for the leap year); a pledge to take one photograph a day, every day for the entire year.

To make this goal more achievable, I allowed myself some slack. I could shoot with my DSLR or my phone. I didn’t assign any particular theme to the photography and if I found myself in situations where I was absolutely unable to take a good photograph (transit days or tight work deadlines), the concession was that I could take an older unprocessed photograph and give it a fresh treatment. Out of 366 days, about 8 were older images that were processed on challenge day. My rationale; post-processing is as vital a part of image-making as clicking the shutter button, especially if you shoot in RAW format.

Completing a Project 365 is challenging, frustrating, fulfilling and instructional.  There were times where I was an hour or thirty minutes away from midnight and just beginning to conceptualise my shot. And there were instances where the photo just created itself before me. There’s a meditation in that somewhere.

Take on a Project 365 and you will learn:

  • Light. How to read it, use it and create it.
  • To recognise patterns and incongruities.
  • To see the soul of a thing.
  • To slow down.
  • To be patient.
  • What your photographic clichés are.
  • How to coax out the magnificent from the mundane.
  • That your first shot is often your best shot.
  • Your true passions.
  • How to document those passions.
  • To embrace risk and take chances on new techniques and equipment.
  • To be brave and talk to strangers.
  • That the best camera is the one you have.
  • That self-portraiture is not always an exercise in vanity.
  • To anticipate moments.
  • To see with your eyes first, and then your lens.
  • That there is always something around you worth taking a picture of.
  • Confidence in your craft.
  • To embrace the weird.
  • That it’s worth getting up close to your subject.
  • That as in life, it all depends on the angle you take.

And at the end of it all, you will have something to show for every single day of the year. Apart from maintaining a daily written journal, there is no better way to document 365 days of living.

Click here to view all my Project 365 – 366 posts on Instagram.

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I am a writer and photographer (look up my work on based in Johannesburg, South Africa. I have an MA in Creative Writing from the university currently known as Rhodes. My writing accolades include winning the 2014 Writivism Short Story Prize and the 2020 Ingrid Jonker Poetry Prize for my debut collection, Zikr.

4 thoughts on “Project 365: Complete”

  1. Now I feel quite bad about not telling how much I enjoyed your journey while you were undertaking it. How much I enjoyed this post when I first read it.
    Here’s to the return of rambling comments on blogs.
    Here’s to a revival of those earlier (and oddly, more meaningful) cyber years 😉

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