A 10-year project
Helen’s 365 project: A picture a day, for the past 10 years
ASK ANY photographer who has completed a 365 project and they will probably tell you that they felt a great sense of achievement, and an even greater sense of relief when it was over. There are many benefits to shooting and sharing every day, but it takes commitment, time, and endless creativity to keep on going. Hundreds of people start 365 projects, but very few finish them. Helen Hooker, however, is an exception. Helen has shot a picture every day for 10 years. ‘My 365 grew naturally out of a blog I had already started on photoblog. com,’ she says. ‘It was 2007 and I hadn’t yet discovered social media, but I wanted somewhere to share my pictures with friends and family.’ By April 2008, Helen was posting something most days. ‘As a professional musician I am fully aware of the impact regular practice can have on anything you do,’ she suggests. ‘As the year progressed my photography began to improve, which was a great motivator to go out and shoot more.’ Without really noticing, Helen had slipped into a 365 project.
Looking back over the past 10 years there have been plenty of highs. ‘It has been wonderful discovering I have some artistic skills,’ says Helen. ‘I always assumed my creative outlet would only ever be music, but through photography I have learned so much about light and form, and I now see the world differently. Rather than looking at subjects to photograph I am much more aware of the way the light falls. Often I see some beautiful light and notice the way it sculpts
what it falls on to. I immediately think about how I would capture that light in-camera, and that excites me.’
Helen enjoys receiving feedback for her work, citing it as one of the reasons she kept on going for so long. ‘Even on days when I felt my daily photo wasn’t as good as I would have liked, friends and family took the time to tell me what they liked about my pictures, which was a real confidence booster,’ she explains. What’s more, she has made many new friends through the project. ‘ There are friends on Photoblog that I’ve been sharing images with for over a decade,’ she reveals. ‘I have even met some of them in person.’ Being able to share her work has given Helen’s image-making a sense of purpose. ‘It’s great to see my pictures having a life beyond my computer hard drive,’ she confirms.
But like any long-term commitment there were days when Helen felt like throwing in the towel. ‘Finding enough motivation to shoot something fresh at the end of a long day is difficult,’ she admits. ‘My backup strategy was to take a picture of our cat – fortunately she is very understanding about this!’ Thankfully Helen’s lack of motivation never seemed to last long, and she was soon adding to her photo collection with shots of cars, animals, architecture or anything else that caught her eye. ‘ The longer I continued the harder it was to say “well it won’t matter if I miss a day”,’ she suggests. Having said that, after 10 years of the 365 project Helen recently decided to give herself a break and to post less often. ‘I will still be sharing new photos regularly, but I figure I deserve a day or two off after 10 years,’ she says. ‘It will give me more time to work on other projects, such as my LRPS distinction.’ While her intentions might be good, Helen is the first to admit that daily photoblogging is a hard habit to break.
High tide at Bosham Harbour, West Sussex
Racing action at Goodwood Racing Revival
Battling through the rain, Westminster Bridge, London
A moment of tenderness between two courting fulmers, Orkney
Frodo the fox, photographed at the British Wildlife Centre
Looking upwards in St Mary’s Church, Beverley