If I had to pick one word to summarize my 2013, it would probably be photography. One of my biggest goals for the year was to improve my photography, and I knew I could only really do that through practice. A lot of practice. I also decided that I wanted to do a better job of documenting my life. Not as part of some big grand plan or for anyone else other than myself. But the years slip by so quickly, and I thought that this might help slow down time, just a little, by capturing moments from every week. Especially the moments that can so easily be forgotten but are worth remembering. So every week I took photographs, often just with my iPhone, and by the end of the year I was taking pictures daily. I worked on composition and technical stuff, but mostly I concentrated on capturing the places and people and things around me. Even if it was just in my living room.
Did it help? I do think it helped my photography. I still probably take way too many pictures, most of which are not keepers, but hopefully a few gems shine through from time to time. And even if the photo itself isn't technically perfect or the composition isn't stellar, I'm still capturing that moment so I won't forget it. And really, that's the most important thing. And no, it didn't exactly slow down time, but it did help me to remember things and experiences that would have otherwise slipped away into the overall blur of a busy year.
Beyond just taking the pictures, I also knew I wanted to create something that I could look through and hold in my hands. So many photographs just stay on our hard drives these days, and I wanted something that I could pull off the shelf to look through and that represented each week of the year. So I made a book, week by week and page by page. I limited myself to one 8.5x11 inch page per week. Some weeks had more pictures than others, particularly those that involved travel or other adventures, so sometimes I would let myself go up to 2 pages for a week (I also devoted one page to all my August Break instagram photos). But those were few and far between. Most weeks were more quiet and simply involved normal, day-to-day occurrences. The sunlight shining on a new rug, a favorite TV show, dinner with friends, the book I was reading, etc. But those weeks are also the ones that can so easily be forgotten, yet they held their own bits of magic and those are the weeks I want to be sure I remember.
I didn't always do a great job of keeping up. Sometimes I'd get behind (ok, by April I was always behind). I didn't have a great/efficient process. But I wanted something flexible and I wanted to make my own book by printing the pages out as I went along. I used a blank Word document (I'm sure there are better ways to do this!) and just inserted the images, cropped them, moved them around into whatever layout suited me at the time or to just find a way to squeeze them all on the page. Yes, I'm still behind (I'm currently somewhere in the middle of September), but when I have a few moments I tackle another week, and I know I'll finish eventually. I enjoy looking back through the images too much not to finish.
I took pictures of food, things I was doing that week, new or favorite items around the house...
Or the weather, like this crazy week in April that started with snow and ended with warm sunshine.
There were some weeks that I struggled with narrowing them down because I had so many pictures and so many things I wanted to remember. But I did my best.
There are pictures of family, pictures of the country, and pictures of where I grew up.
I look through and see the projects I was working on, the people I was with, the mood I was in, and even a few glimpses of me. It is really turning out to be a yearbook, in the best possible way. I can't wait to see what the pages look like in the weeks and years ahead.
I made the pages in Word and clicked and resized and moved things around the page. I printed them on Epson matte photo paper on my old Epson model 1400 printer. I made the book using my ProClick binding system that I use to make sketchbooks, and I ended up needing to split it into two books about halfway through the year due to size. From the outside it's certainly not fancy.
But each page is different, and they all hold a lot of great memories. There are also some less than great memories tucked away in there from time to time, but that's ok too.
2013 has been a really great year. I'm glad I captured it as I went along and can look back and see it all.
Happy New Year!!