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What I learned by taking a picture every day of 2015

Jennifer Fox

This year wasn’t my first attempt at Project 365. In fact, I think I’ve started the project at least three times before. For various reasons, I stopped taking daily photos along the way each of these years. However, last December I made the decision to take this challenge seriously. I vowed to myself that I would take at least one photo a day, every day, for the next 365 days. One full year of photos. One full year of memories.

Project 365
Image: Jennifer Fox/SheKnows

I knew I’d start on January 1, so in the days leading up to the new year, I found a couple of support groups that would help me be accountable on my journey. If other people knew that I was accepting this challenge, I’d feel more pressure to not give up. I decided to use Instagram as my platform and joined up with the My4Hens P365 group. I also created my own hashtag to use because hashtags are awesome. So, #fox5p365 became my little niche in the P365 world and gave me some added motivation to post every day. I learned quickly that support and motivation would be the key to finishing this project.

With an online group and the support of my sweet family, I began the challenge on January 1, 2015. I’m proud to say I haven’t missed a day the entire year, and with only a few weeks left, I better not! Going into the project, I didn’t have a clear goal of what I wanted to accomplish other than just taking the photos.

As the year progressed, I found my groove and began approaching my photography with intentionality. Using only my iPhone camera (I knew I wouldn’t lug around my big camera everywhere I went), I began looking for ways to improve my photos. I learned a lot about my iPhone’s capabilities and began to love the photos I could take with it. I learned that although my “real” camera is still the best, the iPhone is pretty darn good, and having any camera with me is far better than having none at all.

It was so interesting to see how our family was evolving. I could literally see my children growing and changing from week to week. Those little things I tend to overlook because I see them every day became apparent when looking back on the photos. I learned that kids grow way faster than you realize. It’s much easier to see in print.

I also learned that we’re a busy family. Sure, I can feel the hustle and bustle in our daily lives, but looking back over an entire year’s worth of activities showed me just how much we do. Between sports and dance and trips and just life, we’ve lived a full year. I’m looking for ways to scale back the busyness, and this project has shown me areas where we can find some extra down time.

Most importantly, I’ve learned that our memories are more important than any material item we have. Now I’ve seen firsthand how much of the year I tend to forget. The day-to-day, seemingly mundane tasks and activities become a blur and are easily forgotten. This photo documentation has shown me how amazing it is to hold on to these memories. What did I do on June 23? Well, all I have to do is look back on my photo from that day and memories will come flooding back. Before P365, I couldn’t have done that.

Project 365 has changed the way I view photography, but more importantly, it’s changed the way I value our family’s memories. Time is too precious to let the little moments be forgotten, and I’ve learned that I can savor them through a photo a day. Keeping up with this project hasn’t been easy, but it’s been so, so worth it.

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