Over the past years I have started many attempts at several types of photography challenges, such as a weekly challenge with 52 different themes. I’ve never lasted very long and yet I (foolishly?) decided to try again when a 365 challenge arose from a network of female photographers that I am part of.
Yes, you’ve read correctly – a 365 challenge. That’s a photo a day and I have not failed the challenge yet! While it started out being something that I had to remember, it’s now the five minutes of the day that I take for myself and part of my routine. The group that I am doing it filled with a bunch of incredibly supportive women and poses no rules which helps me (plus picking up my camera for personal purposes every day is enough of a challenge for me).
What also helped me is to accept that I won’t produce a masterpiece every day - and that’s actually ok! Instead, my goal is to start documenting my own life again, something that has been put on hold since I started client work.
I figured this would also be the perfect opportunity to share a little bit about myself, the person behind the camera, my life and occasionally even my face as I have attempted a few self-portraits! Every four weeks I will post my twelve favourites from the period and share the stories behind them.
2nd January (title image)
My partner and I spent the Christmas holidays with my parents in Germany before taking the train down to Luxembourg, where his father lives. The weather was not particularly kind to us during those days but during one of the rare rain-free breaks I spotted this lamppost in Itzig, the small town in Luxembourg where my boyfriend David spent his teenage years. It made me think of Narnia and I wanted to incorporate it in a photo, so I told David to go and lean against it in a nice way. He’s clearly a photographer’s partner and immediately knew what I meant. He loves the result and so do I!
Still in Luxembourg, it was far too grim to go for an extended walk outdoors. Inside, there was barely any light, but I love this shot of my boyfriend cooking in his father’s tiny kitchen. He thinks it looks like he is about to throw the pan at me, but I can reassure you no photographers were harmed in the making of this image.
We took the train from Luxembourg back to the UK – via Paris. Our stay was not long but it gave us enough time for a hot beverage in a cosy café, a stroll through the Luxembourg Gardens and alongside Notre Dame and a visit to Shakespeare and Company, an English-language bookstore tucked away on the banks of the Seine. I’m an absolute literature nerd – in fact I incorporate bookstores into my sightseeing plans when I travel. Unfortunately, it was not allowed to take pictures of the books, interiors or the bookstore cat Aggie. I did get this shot of a wall at which people could leave their own little notes, often quickly scribbled on the metro ticket stubs.
There’s always a book waiting for you too start a new story. This one somehow resonated with me. Only booklovers will know what I mean but sometimes a sadness overcomes me when I have finished a book and I need to part with it’s story and say goodbye to the characters so it’s good to remember my next story is just waiting out there for me.
Literature nerd travel advice following: When I studied literature at university one of my particular passions was Twentieth Century American Literature. Hence, I was particularly interested in the fact that Shakespeare and Company had been a hub for some influential writers and poets of the Beat generation. However, it’s location close to tourist attractions unfortunately means that the store has lost some of the atmosphere it undoubtedly had when it was a key location for influential writers. Personally, I much preferred City Lights in San Francisco, California the bookstore and publisher that made Allen Ginsberg’s Howl known to the world.
Thumper guards my books. By the way, just like a proper book nerd, I just love rearranging my bookshelf – I’ve already redone it once since taking this photo. I used to arrange by colour, which looks great but now I have the books that I want to read next at the top.
Of course Vanity will feature heavily as part of this project. She is currently at an age where she changes so rapidly - you can practically watch her grow. I don’t feel like I photographed her enough last year. This day was the first one this year that I managed to get to the yard during the daylight hours. Vanity tried on her cavesson (that is the thing that she is wearing on her head, for all the non-horsey folk amongst you) and she has finally grown into it!
For this day I was going to take a close up of Vanity’s nose which gets all white and fluffy in the winter. She proceeded yawning for about five minutes straight though so this is all I got – and I kinda ended up liking it!
Another one of Vanity – but isn’t she the most beautiful little horse out there? Ok, ok, I am pretty biased. She is sporting her cute wool hat that I got her from Germany.
This cutie was our sleepover guest for that night. Maebh is our friends’ dog and she’s still very young and energetic, but it looks like we managed to tire her out. She’s already pencilled in for another overnight visit next month and we can’t wait for it!
My attempt at a self-portrait with Vanity. I love the result even if it took a few attempts to get us there – I posted the outtakes on Facebook.
I thought a self-portrait with the boyfriend was going to be easier than with my two-year-old horse, but I was mistaken. We took quite a few attempts for this as well. I surprised him with a kiss for this one to get a genuine love and I think it’s a wonderful moment. It’s a little out of focus but I have over 300 days left to try and nail this…
This is surprisingly Christmassy for January, but I actually just boxed this dude for the next 10 months or so and wanted to honour him with a photo before that. I love nutcrackers – they remind me of my childhood as my grandfather had a similar one. This one was a gift from my partner’s mother for St. Nikolaus Day – the 6th of December – which is a big deal in Germany, where I’m from, but not so much here. How thoughtful!
As I said, I do lack the time and inspiration to create a piece of art every day. This is certainly not one either, but this little Texas Longhorn is a fitting reminder that this year marks the tenth anniversary of my year as an exchange student in Dallas, Texas. I don’t know where time has gone but I am beyond excited that I will be returning to Texas for our two-week Easter holiday this year!