Photo a day for a year project

Two hundred and fifty days ago, my friend Tyler told me he wanted to collaborate on a project.

The beginning

This message carried some weight. A proposition? A one year creative endeavor? I was intrigued because that seemed like a big commitment, and I was happy he wanted to do something with me for that long. We had been chanting together for months, starting with the Ganesh mantra, and inspiring each other to stay light, to stay positive, despite our complicated past. Because despite it all, there’s so much love there, and I have never been able to give it up. So perhaps there was more to it for me than just shooting photos and sharing them on Facebook.

He told me about the photo a day project that his friend Rai had started.  I love taking pictures, and as a writer, I have struggled with showing instead of telling. Photography is a way of communicating a moment in such rich language–in ways that words cannot.

So the day after that, we started it. I have initiated many practices this year. I joined in with my cybershala friends on the #365yoga project. I kept up with it for months, but ultimately faltered. Back then, I was practicing almost every day at Shiva Centre, where I was teaching, and also at Prana Yoga. Work amplified to the point where I could no longer escape at a reasonable hour to practice with the community. I made a point of practicing asana every day, until I couldn’t keep up.  I did keep chanting my mantras for months, moving from Ganesh to Kali to Durga chants, so even on the days I didn’t manage to do even a single handstand or headstand, I was still chanting. That chanting time was sacred. I’d hold my mala and repeat my mantra 108 times–sometimes at my altar, and sometimes in my car while driving. I was totally devoted. I had ayurvedic consultations, and vedic astrology readings, and even a vastu shastra consultation with a visiting yogi from Latvia. I moved things around in my home, hung ten different yantras in different spots in every room, and felt things shift in positive ways.

I taught my yoga class at Shiva Centre until August, when I accepted a job teaching at Salt Lake Community College. It was just one class, but added to everything else I’m doing–a full-time job that could take my entire life if I let it, tweeting for HuggerMugger, blogging for HuggerMugger, tweeting for Prana Yoga Trolley Square, tweeting for Shiva Centre … something had to give. I let go of my teaching to become a student again, and I let go of the tweeting for Shiva Centre. This did create room for something new.

In August, I got a studio at Poor Yorick, a dream come true. We had an open studio the next month. All I had to show so far was a bunch of terrariums. I intend to make prints and cards of my photos. By the time we have an open studio next Spring, I’ll be ready for that.

But now that it’s November, and I’m looking back, the only thing I have consistently done this year since I started it is the photo a day for a year project.

A couple of months ago Tyler made a film about the project. He interviewed me, Rai, Rebecca, Kristy, and Scot about what we were doing, how we’re doing it, and how it was changing the way we look at the world.

So I’m adding the photos to my blog. Tyler and I talked about making a book of the photos at the end of the year. I would like to go back through all the photos and tell more of the story of what was happening that day. The project has become my diary. I can’t take the time to write what’s going on, and often don’t want to. But the daily photo has become a marker.

I look at the world differently, always looking for something beautiful or notable to capture to tell a story. Or hint at one. I obsessively shoot photos, though almost never at work. Outside. In a yoga studio. While I’m walking my dog, Pooka. Out with friends. On special expeditions to monumental places like the salt flats. On bike rides. At concerts. In my car while driving. I love it. I have found a new language. And it feels good to have been consistent on something. This is my practice.

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