Day 365

Day 365, originally uploaded by MichBaldwin.

365 Self Portraits: 1 Portrait each day for 1 year.
Aug 5th 2009 - Aug 5th 2010

Why I started this project was simple. I wanted to get used to carrying my camera around with me most of the time, and take one photo a day. I wanted to set myself up for discipline and I wanted to get back into my college major, photography. I have a fond love of photos, and I remember seeing projects and family portraits over the years. It's fun watching how people grow up, and how life changes everyone. I wanted to see if that was going to happen to me as well. The last reason I started this is simple. I wanted to improve my photography and my post-processing skills. Looking back I think i've achieved this goal, but like many paths, when you come to the end of one, you see the next. There is always room for improvement, and I see where I need to go next.
Dealing with myself as a subject meant confronting a lot of physical issues with cameras. Focus, control, timing, the simple want to stay behind the lens and set up a wonderful shot. It's a different way of shooting when you turn the camera on yourself, no doubt at least 30% of the project was dealing with that. The rest was tenacity, getting over the imperfections in my body for the photo and luck. My photography has changed, in the way that I see things and use my surroundings in the shots. I don't know if I'm better at portrait photography, though I may be better at self-portrait photography. I understand photoshop about 60% more than I did, and think my post processing, RAW workflow and practices have gotten better. My equipment is more robust and I'm on the third camera bag and second camera since I've started.
Personally the project has been a milestone in my life. I've changed jobs during it, gained about 10 pounds back of a 120 pound loss. I started working out consistently, (which is a product of the weight gain I'm sure, still worth mentioning.) I went amazing places, had a lot of good times with friends and more importantly got back into a great passion I put aside long ago, thinking because I learned the old way, I would never learn it again. The pure joy of photography shouldn't be left out of taking pictures. Sure doing a project like this, at times was a pain, but it was always a goal that I enjoyed working towards. Now with it over, I'm scrambling to figure out how to fill this void it will create. I plan to take a photo every day, and make one a week a portrait of someone else. I want to take what I learned from myself, and put it forward to show others my view. I would do a project like this again, however I would need to wait a few years before it's self portraits again. Taking a photo a day, seems like a good break from only doing one subject, but eventually I will narrow it down again.
I want to thank everyone who watched over the year and supported me. This was a big undertaking and it's not over yet. Stay tuned for more photos, but less of me in front of the lens. :)

~Michael Baldwin


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