Erics’ Note: This article is by Christian Nilson, a street photographer based in Zurich. For this article he gives us an update on his 1 year, 1 camera, 1 lens project.

Christian: I have now completed 30 weeks of my 1 year, 1 camera, 1 lens, 1 film project., so a bit more than halftime. I have to say it has been tougher than I thought it would be. On the other side though it has been a very rewarding experience so far.  I would like to share my experience of what I have struggled with as well as what I feel I have learnt so far.

The struggles:

1) Shooting 2 rolls a week

 

This might not sound as much, but when you have a fulltime job and a family who wants to see you on weekends it’s sometimes very difficult to find time for photography. I managed the minimum for probably 80% of the weeks so far, I have shot a total of 73 rolls so far, and so the average is above 2 rolls per week.

2) Finding the motivation

I don’t think it matters how dedicated you are, we all have low points in our motivation. There have been weeks where I have not had any motivation at all to go out and shoot. The only thing that has helped me here is that I have always brought my camera with me when I go out, even if I had no motivation what so ever, suddenly something will come up or you find something interesting and the motivation is back.

The trick is to keep going and bring your camera no matter what. There have been many days where I just walked around carrying my camera without shooting one single frame.

3) Stepping outside my comfort zone

It’s easy to get stuck taking the kinds of photos you feel comfortable with, for me this turned out to be oblique angle shots of interesting characters and frontals of static people with some kind of juxtaposition with a poster.

I tried hard to get away from this but it wasn’t really until I decided to do another workshop that I really got away from this. It’s my personal opinion that we never stop learning and that we can learn things from anyone as long as we are prepared to put in the effort. For anyone looking to get pushed outside of their comfort zone, I can warmly recommend talking to Charlie Kirk about his workshops.

The rewards

1) Editing skills

As I mentioned in the previous article, part of the exercise is to edit every roll down to the top 2 photos. This has thought me to look objectively at my photos. This is really hard and I don’t always succeed.

The most difficult thing is to look at your photos without attaching emotion to them. But it’s a great practice and it has definitely made my editing skills better.

2) Overall quality

Judge for yourselves, but I feel that this exercise has made my photos better on average. Over these 30 weeks, I think I might have taken 2-3 photos that I consider great. Probably 100+ that are definite keepers and a lot of average ones.  It’s also funny to see that most of the photos I kept at the beginning of the project would not be considered keepers any more. I think this is a good sign of some kind of progress.

3) Expansion of comfort zone

When I started this project I avoided frontals and close-ups, main reason being I did not really want to talk to people. Today I have no problem going up to someone at about 1 meters distance and using an off-camera flash. This is not what I always do, but at the beginning this was unthinkable, now it is something I do when I feel it would make a good photo.

I also have no issue talking to people who might not like what I do at first; I have had a few people who have confronted me over the past couple of weeks and all except one have left the conversation with a smile on their face. You win some you loose some. In the end I think about 99% of the photos I have take over the past 30 weeks have caused me no problem whatsoever.

Conclusion

That’s it for now; I hope to be back with a full review of the whole year once I have completed the 52 weeks.

If you want to read more about my project or see more of my photos follow me below.

Follow Chris

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