3 inspiring tips from an experienced 365er

by Roxanne Bryant

365:  A year-long journey in erasing fear, making mistakes, and creating art.

3 inspiring tips from an experienced 365er photo

It is a distinctly great challenge to pick up your camera and shoot every single day for one year.  When I decided to begin a 365 project, I had no idea how the journey would stretch me.  For most of my life, I had been making art in the constraints of a very tight box.  Folded upon myself, I was fearful of everything – mistakes, judgment, taking risks – and riddled with the thought I’d never create something I could believe in.  It took the endless, rolling days of the 365 to crack me wide open.

3 inspiring tips from an experienced 365er photo

3 inspiring tips from an experienced 365er photo

In the first month of the project I photographed with my eyes closed, hands clamped tightly around my heart.  I shot cautiously, edited tightly, and posted tentatively (to a private Flickr page, that barely anyone followed).  I was doing the project for no one but myself, and somehow, still cowered at my own shadow.  I couldn’t let go.  Slowly, the rhythm of the days held me accountable.  I’d blink my eyes and the sun was either rising or setting to another day.  There wasn’t a moment to redo, rethink, or repost.  There was no chance to get it “just right”.  I simply had to get up, live and document the next day.  This creative untidiness shook me to the core.  My 365 was like a stream rambling without mercy.  Often I was in tears at the end of the night, wanting another chance.  JUST POST I had to tell myself; tomorrow is a new day.  It was a great lesson for my artist’s soul.

3 inspiring tips from an experienced 365er photo

If I didn’t pledge myself to the 365, I can assure you, I would have deleted half my photos from the year.  Especially the ones that felt wholeheartedly like mistakes.  But the project made me digest, slowly, that I couldn’t make magic everyday.  No one could.  The poor shots, inadequate exposures, missed moments, gave me places to grow.  The mistakes were like a million tiny seeds – beautiful, ripe imperfections.  They unraveled me and I started letting go.  I opened my eyes, while letting my heart take the photos. The project became a constantly evolving journal of the artist I COULD be if I embraced the very things I was not.  I saw for the first time truth in my imagery.

3 inspiring tips from an experienced 365er photo

3 inspiring tips from an experienced 365er photo

3 inspiring tips from an experienced 365er photo

It’s been five months without the rhythm of my 365, and I miss it so much.  I miss the way it helped me capture the small nuances of our world and face my creative self anew each day.  If you are considering taking on a 365, I believe the things you’ll need most are patience, perseverance, and an open heart.  There are simply no right or wrongs to this project.  The only thing you’ll regret if you start — is stopping.  Here are a few other important lessons I found crucial to surviving the year:

  1. SHARING: Do NOT obligate yourself to post and share each and every photo of your 365 project publicly on your website or any other social platform.  DO hold yourself accountable with a private or semiprivate Flickr stream, tumblr, or a private page on your website.  A little cocoon around your artist self can go a long way.  And this creative project is about growth.  So share your favorites when you are moved to, but remember this is your own personal journey.  Build the confidence from within, and your own creative voice will become strong.
  2. SUPPORT: Find a friend or two to do this project with, start to finish.  Even just one friend will provide encouragement, consistent constructive feedback, and momentum when you need it most.  For you WILL hit a wall.  Many times.  It is impossible to not fall on a journey of this length.  You will need someone who understands, and knows how to help you get back up and shooting again.
  3. FORGIVE: Be kind to yourself.  Don’t give up because you had to skip a day.  Post two photos the next.  Take risks without beating yourself up.  Embrace the mistakes.  Underexpose, overexpose.  Shoot late at night, early in the morning, in poor light.  Take photos of your children laughing, crying, fighting.  Take photos of yourself.  Take the messes along with the moments that feel “just right”.  You will not be disappointed.  They will add up to a pile of wild, unruly beauty.  In the end you’ll have a living cross-section of this all too fleeting slice of your life.  And most importantly, a reflection of YOU at this moment in your journey as an artist.  You will be grateful to have it.

3 inspiring tips from an experienced 365er photo

3 inspiring tips from an experienced 365er photo

3 inspiring tips from an experienced 365er photo

3 inspiring tips from an experienced 365er photo

3 inspiring tips from an experienced 365er photoRoxanne Bryant, Rhode Island
Photographer
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Roxanne Ricciardi Bryant has been taking photos, film and digital, for almost 20 years.   Her professional career in art began as a designer in New York City, working for both Nickelodeon and Disney.  After working in the design industry for several years, she pursued an MFA in Art Education, designing a curriculum on the Visual Language of Drawing.  She is a classically trained artist and has taught painting, drawing, graphic design, photography, and printmaking in public, private, and boarding schools in Boston and the greater Boston area.  Currently Roxanne resides in Rhode Island with her husband and two young children, photographing families throughout New England, as well as providing on-line photography education.

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26 Responses to “3 inspiring tips from an experienced 365er”

  1. May 21 2014 at 1:36 pm #

    I’m in the thick of my own 365 right now, and this was beautifully said! I know I’ll be doing another one again next year ;) Lovely post!!

  2. Molly
    May 21 2014 at 1:36 pm #

    This is one of my favorite CM blog posts. Ever.

  3. Kelly
    May 21 2014 at 2:10 pm #

    Thank you! Tomorrow is my last day of my first 365. As I plan to embark on a new one immediately, this was great encouragement!

  4. May 21 2014 at 3:23 pm #

    Excellent article, Roxanne. I did a 365 a few years ago, but I put way too much pressure on myself with it and never wanted to do one again. Reading this makes me think I could put the idea back on the table. I love the idea about not obligating yourself to share every image. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Erin
    May 21 2014 at 5:29 pm #

    You are a huge inspiration Roxanne. I’m struggling through my first 365 this year, and it helps so much to hear your perspective.

  6. May 21 2014 at 6:56 pm #

    I’m currently doing one and I can already see it revolving. I’m getting bolder about taking my camera pretty much wherever I go, except to work yet.

  7. May 21 2014 at 9:18 pm #

    I just found your blog a few days ago, and fell in love with your photographs and the way you tell your story! glad to see you on CM and hope to see more of you work in the future. I am a few weeks into another 365, I have stopped every time, and every time I wish I could go back and continue. Thanks for these great tips!

  8. Erica Collins
    May 21 2014 at 11:08 pm #

    Oh, Roxanne I so miss your 365. It was such a daily dose of inspiration. Your work is stunning as always and still pushes me to continue through those rough patches of daily shooting. :)

  9. May 22 2014 at 12:41 am #

    Roxanne you are a true inspiration to follow. I was thinking to sort out my 365, now I am relaxed enough to see your post.

  10. May 22 2014 at 9:21 am #

    Wow, beautiful words and photos. Your words resonate. Thank you for sharing.

  11. May 22 2014 at 10:47 am #

    i.love.you and your advice, wisdom….your art. ty roxanne.

  12. May 22 2014 at 11:18 am #

    Lovely, lovely work– so inspired!

  13. May 22 2014 at 12:36 pm #

    Such beautiful and inspiring work and words, Roxanne.

  14. May 22 2014 at 4:52 pm #

    Roxanne, I love the way you share your heart here and your experience. You are such an amazing artist in so many ways. I ‘m grateful to know you.

  15. May 22 2014 at 6:55 pm #

    Beautiful work and very inspiring words, Roxanne, thank you.

  16. Kristen R
    May 22 2014 at 9:28 pm #

    Beautiful words and an inspiring article :)

  17. Miranda DeJarnatt
    May 24 2014 at 10:31 pm #

    Thank you for your honesty and your helpful tips for direction…..absolutely loved your pictures :)

  18. Lisa
    May 26 2014 at 7:17 am #

    Thank you for this! I found it truly helpful. I’ve been working through a 365 and love what you shared about not feeling obligated to share every image. I needed to hear that, and it may just be the encouragement I needed to finish strong!

  19. Rachel
    May 30 2014 at 10:11 am #

    So very inspiring. I think I’ll start today!

  20. May 30 2014 at 1:05 pm #

    Holy cow. These words are so inspiring and now I want to take on another 365. Beautiful work.

  21. Jun 06 2014 at 7:30 am #

    very, very inspiring post – thank you, Roxanne!!! and your work is gorgeous!

  22. Jun 09 2014 at 5:52 pm #

    great article, i feel all you say! i did my own 365 last year and agree with you, it’s an amazing way to grow, learn and let go. not every image has to be perfect, but what you are left with is a priceless reminder of a whole year of your life, every shot tells a story…where else would you get that. i would urge everyone to give it a go…and if you only manage 1 montn, or 2 or 6…so be it, i still bet you learn a lot!
    see mine here if you like!
    http://angelswithdirtyfacesphotography.com/grid/

  23. Jun 17 2014 at 5:24 pm #

    Your post spoke so much to me — especially your discussion of the fear of failure and your struggles with perfectionism. I can relate to this so well. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful work and your heart with the world!

  24. Cherie
    Jul 02 2014 at 11:12 am #

    I am an amateur at best! I have a Nikon 5100 and am trying to learn and edit my pictures. Thank you so much for the 365 idea! I think this is a great idea for beginners as well as accomplished photographers. You can always learn new techniques. Your inspiration is awesome!

  25. Jul 24 2014 at 9:30 pm #

    What a great article! I am currently doing a 365 and I love your words of inspiration. I also love that you stressed that not every photo will be amazing. That is something that has gotten me down more than once on this journey.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 100 days of summer » Lara Gowder - Jun 12 2014

    […] to keep with it, really does make a difference! Roxanne started our group project after writing this post for Clickin Moms on how to stay inspired doing a 365. I am loving it so far, and I’m […]

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