365 Days with Hipstamatic – One Year Later

By on December 30, 2017


Exactly one year ago, Hipstography published an article about the 365 Project concept. We asked several hipstographers who had already completed one or several 365 Projects to give us some advice and tips for a successful adventure, in the right conditions. A year later, we’d like to make up the balance with a panel of hipstographers, many of whom started their own project following the article we published.



First 365 Project by Elaine Taylor: "After reading the Hipstography article about 'Project 365' last December, I found the motivation I needed. The article also inspired me to make my project 100% Hipstamatic. Hipstamatic is my favourite app and the first one I ever downloaded onto my phone. The app kickstarted my passion for mobile photography. I have always shot the majority of my images through Hipstamatic, but prior to this project, I usually edited them in some way in one or more other apps. For this project I shot in Classic Mode and used the 'Shake to Randomize' function, which I'd never really used before. Through that, I discovered some interesting lens/film combinations and have been able to vary the style of my images over the year". Her conclusion amounts to this: "Once I started there was absolutely no way I wasn't finishing it. Just a few days left - I can't wait to see it through to the end". She adds: "It has been a great and very rewarding experience for me. Doing the 365 Project this year has encouraged me to shoot every day, and to think a little more creatively about the shots I was taking. It's opened my eyes a little more to the world around me and I have noticed things that might have previously passed me by. I've taken photos of things that I wouldn't normally - birds, drinks, walls, cars (there's even a selfie in there) - but each image has its place in my Project for a good reason and is a pretty good representation of the day on which I took it".

One last piece of advice from Elaine "My advice would be, if you're thinking about it, just do it! Start on January 1st and don't look back. Use the Project as a way to reignite your creativity, as an excuse to push yourself out of your comfort zone, as a way to capture the world around you with fresh eyes. Don't miss a day - there's a photo waiting to be captured every single day. It’s important to have a plan, in terms of how the images will be saved, and having some kind of 'theme' certainly helped to keep me focused".

(Photos: Elaine Taylor)


It's maybe not a masterpiece

Carol Ryan also started her Project 365 in January 2017: "It was hard to shoot on days where I felt pressed for time. Sometimes, I would get to the end of a day and say: "Oh no! I haven't taken my picture today!" and then scramble to find something worthwhile. I had a few days where I didn't want to do it at all, but did it anyway and was glad I did. I learned to see every day objects in more creative ways and realized how difficult the process can be, at times. I learned discipline in making sure a day didn't go by without taking a picture". Her advice: "Do it and take enjoyment from each day. Don't worry about whether it's a masterpiece; some days will be better than others. It's a lot of fun to look back on the year and re-live so many moments through your photos."

(Photos: Carol Ryan)


Carol’s husband, Mike Ryan, also decided to go ahead, after reading the article on Hipstography and even though he’s not 100% sure that he will continue, it was a positive experience for him too: "It was a bit of a leap to commit to taking a daily photo. Occasionally, I was happily surprised with a photo I might not have taken, if not for the daily requirement. I also learned that it's okay to take a photo that just documents the days activity, without regard for artistic merit". As far as "problems" go, he says: "The enjoyable 'problem' was having to choose one image from a days photos, taken under favorable conditions (for example during vacation or a dramatic snow storm). At the opposite end of the spectrum was the need to come up with a photo while at home with gray skies outside". His conclusion is simple: "My memory is augmented by seeing photos of events in my life, events which would otherwise be forgotten. For this reason, I value having a daily photo journal of the 12 months of 2017, depicting the variety of the years activities."

(Photos: Mike Ryan)


The unreserved

There are also the unreserved, those who are already on their third or fourth round, sometimes even more than that! Muriel Allegretty has been doing it for 8 consecutive years: "I started as soon as I got my first iPhone in 2010, when I immediately downloaded Hipstamatic. I’ve never skipped a day and I will, of course, be continuing in 2018!" She uses the Project365 app and saves each month in PDF-form: "Every day, for every photograph, I write a short text to go along with each picture. So, I have 7.5 years worth of photographs and comments on my phone. I, personally, believe it to be of immeasurable value."


(Photos: Muriel Allegretty)


Stephen Littrell started in 2014, so he has just finished his fourth 365 Project: "The past four years have been an exercise in learning to see. Really see. Interesting photographs can be made from even the most mundane subjects. I have no plans to stop doing a 365 Project". The major obstacle? The abundance of pictures taken on a daily basis: "The first year of a project may be the most difficult as it is all new. Making sure I had at least one photo by the end of the day was, at times, a chore. But over time taking pictures becomes the most natural thing in the world. I carry my iPhone with me everywhere I go and I’m always snapping, snapping, snapping shots. The hardest part is deleting the hundreds of terrible photos from my iPhone on a regular basis".

(Photos: Stephen Littrell)


Like Carol Ryan, he too emphasizes the importance of not feeling pressured into producing a masterpiece daily: "Don’t worry about getting a really good photograph, every single day. Sometimes, I get to the end of a busy day and I have only a few not-very-good photos from which to choose. On those days, I challenge myself to improve what I have by adjusting the photographs in the editing suite. Some minor edits can make big improvements on a so-so photo".

(Photos: Stephen Littrell)


Just like Stephen, Erik Lieber will also be finishing his fourth 365 Project, on December 31st, 2017 and will also be continuing the adventure: "At this stage, I’m determined to complete my project, each year I begin it. In fact, my 365 Project is such an important part of my life that it keeps me sane. It has become almost like a kind of therapy for me. I’m proud to say that I have not missed a day in the almost 4 years since I started these projects. I’ve been involved with photography for 40 years. In that time, I’ve learned that a good photograph can be made anywhere and at any time. Doing a 365 Project really tests that belief. In my 365 Project, I make sure that my photo of the day is taken on the day it is posted. This keeps me on my toes and keeps my vision sharp. I’m always aware of my surroundings and always looking for that day's shot".

(Photos: Erik Lieber)


Joe Morrissey’s adventure began in 2011: "My first 365 Project began (officially) in 2011. I do, however, count my projects from October to October, because that’s when I first started my Instagram, where I have uploaded every day since. My ethos is more than posting every day though. I shoot photos, edit them and then upload them on the same day. Every photo that I have posted on Instagram, was shot and edited on the same day. @joemorrissey has now become a document of my life, day by day." That said, his technique has slightly changed over the past twelve months: "Even though it wasn’t my first 365, I treated this one differently. I’ve decided to be less rigid, letting myself be more fluid, moving between styles. Doing this has meant I enjoyed the project much more, doing what felt natural, rather than sticking to rules (other than posting every day!)". So, will he be continuing through 2018? "At this stage, I don’t think I could live with myself if I stopped..."

(Photos: Joe Morrissey)



Even if some prefer publishing their pictures on Facebook or Instagram, day by day, the Project365 app remains one of the easiest ways to compile your 365 photos. Judy Sidonie Tillinger admits: "I think of the Project365 app is an ongoing, open ended insight into how I see. By distilling and displaying my vision in its simple monthly grid, I have a record of time, as well as process". Project365 only costs $1.99 and can be used indefinitely. There is the complimentary version and there is the Pro version, which has no annoying ads and, a few of the bonuses are quite handy, such as the ability to save a month’s worth of photos and text, into one PDF. More info on its creator, Alvin Yu’s website.

(Photos: Judy Sidonie Tillinger)


Additional tips

In the article published in December 2016, a number of hipstographer gave us some tips and warned us about the pitfalls. The most common is forgetting to actually take a picture and Muriel Allegretty suggests setting an alarm, to remind you: "Remind yourself around 16:30, in case you forget. I have to admit that I sometimes cheat… I do occasionally forget to take a picture and then I go and search for one from the previous day. I’m not totally rigid during my project. The most important thing for me, is to keep a kind of intimate journal in pictures." She adds: "You can also decide to follow along with one of the many challenges and go with a particular theme on Instagram, for example. It can help with a lack of inspiration or challenge you even more."

(Photos: Monica Salters)


Susan L. Sanders offers the same advice: "I suggest for someone starting out, that they join some of the Instagram Hipsta groups and any other IG groups of particular interest. Participate in the challenges suggested by groups. Follow the feed of photographers whose work you find interesting. Become observant. Subjects for photography can be found near and far; family, friends, neighbors, pets, strangers on the street, local events, travel and tours, museums of all kinds, meet-ups with other photographers, meet-ups for any activity of interest. I learn from photography exhibitions, art museums, books on photography, photography blogs, photography meetups and the work of other photographers". For Susan, the results are worth it and there are many benefits: "Not only has my photography improved as a result of the project, but my photography activities have increased exponentially and I think I have grown as a person. I became involved in the Hipstamatic communities on Instagram. Virtual connections have led to real life connections. I have met up with Hipsta friends in other cities; several of us have met for several days of photography, in different places. In the search for photographic subjects, I’ve done and continue to do all I suggest in Item 5. This has expanded my experience generally and certainly enhanced my life in my own city. On a daily basis, I pay closer attention to what is happening wherever I am; there is a photography opportunity in everything."

(Photos: Susan L. Sanders)


Erik Lieber advises us to be patient "If one is preparing to take on such a lengthy and time-consuming project, my suggestion is to be diligent and patient. Photographs can present themselves at any given time. You should always be ready to find your image at any time. At the same time, however, you must be patient and confident that even though the day might be drawing to a close, there is always time to make a great image".

(Photos: Erik Lieber)


For Joe Morrissey, it’s simple: "My advice would be to not take it too seriously. The only rule you need is to post every day, you don’t need give yourself more rules to follow and they sometimes take the fun out of it".

Ramón Cruz suggests the same: "Watch and have fun. And like the master Richard Koci Hernández recommended: Don´t think, just shoot. And the results may surprise you."

(Photos: Ramon Cruz)


To finish, I’d like to add my own experience… While writing the article last year, I was surprised by the enthusiasm and passion from those who were already fervent participants in the 365 Project concept. I threw myself into the adventure on January 1st, 2016 and, a year later, I can only say that it was/is a fantastic experience. I compile with the “Project365” app to document my daily life over the past year. We often forget the small stuff, memories do fade and this is a way to keep track of daily life, so to speak. Some days it resulted in panic, when around 22:30, you realize that you still haven’t taken a picture. My Mac screen then becomes my subject matter, as those pictures remind me of a great movie or TV-series. Tomorrow, I’ll be closing 2017 but I’m ready for 2018!

(Photos: Eric Rozen)


Thanks to everyone who put in their two cents worth and I hope that others will be inspired to join us in this continuing adventure! Hipsta New Year to all of you!

This post is also available in: French

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