On August 31st, in Lisbon, I concluded my year-long 365 Monochrome Project. My initial reactions were of relief, happiness and accomplishment. Relief in the way of being free for a bit from a daily task and now looking back at the work, I am feeling extremely accomplished and proud of the images that I made. From the streets of Poznan to my new home in Warsaw to concluding in Lisbon, the project followed me everywhere in all of the lovely seasons.
Not always an easy task having to produce a single image every day for a year, but one that is very rewarding and set me off to a deep appreciation of working in black and white. I started this project as a way to reintroduce myself to monochromatic images and develop an appreciation for seeing in this manner. As an artist, I always worked in black and white and my medium of choice was pen or pencil, often producing lifelike images with them. I loved working in the colorless environment and how it held a sort of honesty, free of distraction that color can sometimes bring.
With the camera, I concentrated on bringing my images to life using color and finding my style within them. I looked to artists like Saul Leiter, Fred Herzog and Ernst Haas for my inspirations and how they used color. They remain my goto artists for inspiration still. I also loved the quirky color schemes found in the films of Argento and Lynch among so many others. When I picked up the camera I wanted to paint my world in a similar fashion with impactful and meaningful color. Along the way, I feel like I gradually hit that mark.
A year ago, I felt that I was missing so much more in the way only monochrome can bring, narrowing the image down to a core honesty. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to do another 365 so close to the last one I had just completed but felt like it was time to give it a try and I was also needing something new and final to usher in my 50th birthday. yeah…50. Imagine that. So, with relief of finishing the project, I now can look back with deep pleasure and the feeling of accomplishment having finished what I started, feeling secure knowing that my commitment hasn’t wavered.
Ultimately, I love this project and how it kept me focused on the work and seeing in a new way, creating this massive story of interesting images over the course of the year. And of course, shooting like this produces so many more images that dont make it into the final daily effort….which is great, giving me even more images to work with over time. Not all are perfect, but they fit into the context of it and I find it interesting how my eye and mind would fixate on certain themes throughout. This really helps me to narrow down what I see and what keeps me inspired.
If you have never done a 365, I encourage you to try it…or maybe a weekly one making up for 52 images. It will help you focus and can give you more depth to your work as well as help with defining what you are looking at. Color or black and white, whatever you choose…both, either and any skill level will benefit from it. If you are a beginner, this is a great way to jump-start your photo-adventure!. It will be a challenge and a commitment, but in the end you will have a body of work that will certainly impress you and you will be able to see results from. I will also add that a 365 doesnt have to be only photography…it could be writing or cooking or just about anything you want to improve upon.
For now, looking back is a great feeling and one that I am content with. I want to make something of this project so perhaps an exhibit is in order. If you have suggestions, I would love to hear them! And of course, I love to answer any questiosn that you might have so feel free to comment below and I will respond in kind. It would also please me a great deal if you can share the project with your friends or anyone you might benefit form the work.
Here is a small selection of ones that stood our for me or that resonated with me today (I would be very hard pressed ot have a favorite single image). You can find the entire body of work here: 365 Monochrome Project (I am still adding captions, etc).
I would like to thank my partners at Digital24.pl for the wonderful support and use of Canon, Fuji, Olympus and Sigma gear.
Canon EOS 6DII and “L” Series 50mm 1.2f, Sigma 20mm 1.4f, Fujifilm X100f, Olympus OMD and Nikon D80 + 35mm 1.8f. and on occasion my Samsung Galaxy S8.
Thank you for watching. I hope that you enjoy it. Have a great day and hapy shooting!
Great post 😁😊
Lovely read and brilliant photos! You keep on inspiring me so much it’s incredible… I look up to many photographers, famous or not, but rarely does anyone’s photographs speak to me so much. Currently at work but can’t wait to have a more in-depth read and look later tonight.
Darren G (@souldazzer)
Hi Darren! Man, thank you so much for the incredibly kind words and appreciation. It’s truly a pleasure to know that the work I do has resonated with you and inspires you. You just made my day! Keep shooting and I hope someday we can share a street. 🙂
as always a very interesting read about yet another of your projects. It’s inspirational to follow and reflect, and I happily admit that your generous sharing of tricks I’m the trade makes a difference to my own photography.
When I grab my humble Lumix I recall the “fall, level”-remark you made to the getting-on-the-tram-photo … I don’t fall down often, but my levelling is slowly improving 😊
Thank you Juni. I am very grateful for your appreciation and pleased that my tricks can inspire your own work and efforts! Your humble Lumix wants to be dynamic! Have a great day. 😍
You’re more than welcome. My humble Lumix wants to rule me and eventually the world … We’ll just see about that 😉 you have a good day, too
This is just marvelous work Erik! Your monochromes are very moving, nostalgic and with a hint of solitude to them. I like the fact I was there with you when you took one of them. 🙂
It’s pretty remarkable that you managed to actually make on every single day out of that 365, I wish I were so consistent 😉
Again, congrats and I hope some of your monochromes get further recognition out there!
Thanks a ton! Yes indeed, you were standing right next to me when I took one. I am very honored to have that as part of my story! That was a fantastic morning and one that I will always remember. Hope you are doing really well and it’s just about the time to go back to that spot again! Don’t miss it! Cheers from Warsaw!
Hey Erik, I am doing fine except for not having consistent time for photography, it comes and goes. Thanks for reminding me of that spot, I need to revisit it again in October and get back into the groove!