Last year I spent almost a month in Buenos Aires.
Half of that time was vacation, during which we took 2 hours of tango lessons every day. It left me with some amazing experiences, some basic Tango skills too embarrassing to ever use in public, and a very obvious reminder.
During these 2 weeks we got to know our tango instructors quite well. They were master dancers at the very top of their game, but they would still, every week, take lessons from other dancers. I was curious about this and in conversation asking why, the answer was the quite obvious; One can always get better and always learn a different way of moving.
I often feel that as a photographer I am in a bit of a learning vacuum. It is learning by doing and exploring, but not with the constant input of a mentor’s direction. I constantly think about the tango dancers in Buenos Aires and them learning from others every single week, and I recognize I crave this.
The best athletes all have coaches. They push forward on their own but always with guidance. Why would us photographers work different?
The environment for a location photographer like myself, putting in 250 days a year of travel, is not very conducive to a classic mentoring environment, so I’m not quite sure what this will look like for me. I have done a few workshops with other photographers, and go to lectures given by all kinds of inspiring people as often as I can. This helps, but it is not a classic “master”…
A few weeks back I was having dinner with my great friend and photographer Thayer Allison Gowdy and the discussion came upon this subject of constant practice and learning. Friends of Thayer’s had initiated the “100 Day Challenge” online, and we decided to tag along.
Our challenge: To create one portrait a day for the next 100 days.
In this there will be learning by doing, but by doing it together there is accountability. Accountability to get things done and to explore and compare the daily portrait.
It’s intimidating to share work that is a part of practicing, but it is also liberating to put images out there with no other purpose but to keep myself to the daily effort of photographing someone.
Self-help gurus say the way to instill new habits are to consistently do something over 100 days. It will then become habit…
So on I go to create a habit of making a portrait every day. Through this hope to learn something new; a daily way of deepening my understanding of the elusive quality which makes a great picture, and my ability to connect with the people I photograph.
The pictures in this series are inconsistent in their quality, but I’m still utterly excited about the work. The series is not about the singular image but about me becoming better at my craft.
I’m excited about learning and excited to be doing something new. To create a new habit of constantly carrying a camera and constantly observing.
Here is an outtake of some of the 43 images so far…
All of them are posted live on the below tumbler blog if you would want to follow.