• Jess Mazzone

365 Photo Project

2019 was a great and tough year for me. I learned a lot about myself and my craft. The year was filled with some really great highs and some pretty big failures. Yet, as I look back at 2019 through the rear-view mirror I am mostly in awe of what I accomplished and appreciative for all that I have learned. I took on some big challenges and through those experiences, I learned to face internal mindsets that hold me back.

As I look forward into 2020, I want this year to be an opportunity to connect to my values, my "whys." I still have a lot of work I want and need to do for my photography business, but I also want to reconnect with the reason I have chosen this craft (or that this craft has chosen me) and the reasons that it remains such an important part of my life.

So, I signed up for a 365 photo project with local photographer, Kristyn Miller with the intention of reconnecting to photography in deeply meaningful and personal way. The intention is to take photos every day and choose one for the project. And, they're not always going to be great photos. Honestly, that was one thing that both really excited me about the project, to "just take photos" with the freedom of not over-styling or over thinking it and also one of my biggest fears about the project. I spent so much time last year trying to improve my work (particularly with events) and that it feels more risky now to post photos that don't meet that expectation. But, that's not the point of this project.

I am about 20 days into the project and so far it has been a great, though imperfect, experience. I love building the habit of having my camera on me at all times that is something I've thought about doing for awhile and have this nudge has helped me do it. I am seeing things differently (or seeing them in a way I haven't in awhile) some days it's easier to know what I'm going to take photos of, for example heading to the park with my family, and other days it's not so clear and I find my self looking and observing more what's around me, things that I have driven past thousands of times and never really took the opportunity to look and see what's there. This I also really love thinking about photography on a daily basis. I love having the opportunity to think about photo techniques and know that I have a chance to try something the next day, without worrying about whether it will "work" or be "good." In that way this is very fun and freeing.

The challenge in the project for me is, well, it's me. All of the things that come up for me, the mindsets, the self-doubt, the frustration. Those are the challenges and it's all just me. As much as I can acknowledge and lean into the freedom of not worrying too much about the images I'm producing, it's also really hard not to. I often feel the tension between "just take the photo" and "this is a terrible photo." In those moments, I remind myself of my "whys"- I didn't decide to do this project for perfection. I didn't do it to showcase my best work. That has its place. This about a deeper connection and a freedom to openly explore my life through photos, through seeing and feeling my entire life in a different way. Oh, and to have FUN. That's s huge part of it. This project is fun.

Below are my images so far for January. Some of which I really love and will treasure forever. Other's are just ok. And I am fine with that. I will continue to post my progress as this projects moves on through the year.

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