At the start of January I began a new photography project: Life In 52. The idea is simple – to take one photo a week for each week of the year. It’s a lifestyle photography project, documenting little snippets of my life that I want to remember.
In all honestly I probably don’t need yet another photo-project. I already have Project Happy, where I capture a moment of joy from my day, every single day. And there’s also The Moments In Between, a monthly collection of all the everyday, beautiful moments in between the chaos that is family life, the moments that tell our story. These images usually end up being my absolute favourite shots from every month.
But when Sarah announced that she was starting Life In 52 I felt inspired to continue practising what I’d learnt in Colorado, and I fancied something new and a little bit different to give me a creative boost. I love lifestyle photography – it gives a little peek into someone’s world and tells a story without the need for words. I offer in-home sessions for families so I figured it would be good practice for me to shoot in tricky indoor winter light and help me build up a portfolio of images. Plus, at the end of the year I’ll have a collection of fifty-two images that sum up the story of 2018 as it was for us.
There is a Facebook group dedicated to the project, where participants can post their images each week to share their work, hold themselves accountable and also in the hope of being featured on the blog on the Life In 52 website. The Facebook group is fantastically supportive and encouraging, even if it does take over the majority of my newsfeed(!). I’ve found some wonderful new photographers to follow and the quality of the work is incredible – there are some insanely talented people in there. The thing about Life In 52 is that it’s fully inclusive – you don’t have to be a professional photographer. It’s a project for everyone, a space for you to share your story. And some of the stories that have been told alongside the images shared have had me in tears. People are opening up, being vulnerable, sharing difficulties like divorce and celebrating triumphs like being cancer-free.
Of course there’s the temptation to slip into a place of comparing my work to other people’s. We all know that comparison is the thief of joy (as the saying goes) and I’ve been working super-hard this last year to let go of doing that. Colorado helped enormously – the women I studied with were all pro-photographers and yet I felt equal to them, accepted for simply being myself, and realised that they’re human too and struggled with the same things that I do in terms of being overly critical of our own work. So instead I’m choosing to be inspired by the phenomenal shots I’m seeing in the Life In 52 group, using it as a catalyst to try out new ideas, to be more creative with using the light I have available to me, and to celebrate the variety of perspectives that everyone has.
I hadn’t been planning to document this project on my blog and then I thought “why not?”. I wanted a record of them somewhere where they won’t get lost amidst all the other images. And so I’ll be posting every fortnight with the photos I submitted for each week and the stories behind the images I chose.
Here are Weeks One and Two:
“On your birthday it’s compulsory in our house to wear the birthday glasses. The teenager grumbles, the husband embraces the silliness, the girls protest (but only a little bit) and ultimately everyone gives in and puts them on. I love the growing collection of images I have of my girls at every age wearing these ridiculous glasses, documenting them from year to year. I might switch it up and get a birthday hat instead one year but for now these are becoming a family tradition that I really love.”
A Winter Walk:
“The day dawned clear and bright, with frost sparkling on the ground. No-one wanted to leave the house but I was determined that the sunshine wouldn’t be wasted. I have a thing about wasting sunshine. There was a big battle to get ready, then another to actually leave the house. It continued in the car and I turned the music up loud to drown out the bickering and grumbles. By the time we got where we were going the frowns had vanished and we set off, stamping on ice-puddles, pretending to be explorers and chasing the beautiful light. It was a good walk and I felt revived: cold, clean air; sunshine and adventures do wonderful things for the soul.”
You can follow along with all the other submissions from the Life In 52 project on Instagram by following the hashtags #lifein52 and #m4hlifein52. And you can see the featured posts from the group each week on the Life In 52 blog (updated every Saturday or Sunday I believe). Week One is here and Week Two is here.