For six years I have done these birthday self portraits, inspired by my friend Brett Howell. The idea is that throughout the day I take the same number of self portraits as I am in age. This year: 49. This year, I was visiting my parents in St. George, Utah, so I got some fresh scenery from the previous years' birthday self portraits.
Come with me on a journey of romance and adventure through these 49 self portraits and see how I spent my 49th birthday.
You can also see how things played out when I turned 48.
Some notes about the project -
This is hard. First of all, I have to try and take 49 unique pictures. Obviously, not all of them are home runs. In fact, most are not. I hope at the end of the day I get a couple of really fantastic stand-outs. I think this year there are a couple of those. Also, it takes all day to do this. And then of course, I don't want to repeat what I've done in previous years, and the truth is, that's impossible. And there are some repeats. In fact, I want to do one particular repeat every year. That is, the first picture is me, in bed, at the beginning of the day. I like that as a starting point.
It was nice being in a different town this year, as I had some new environmental elements I could include.
How long will I do this? Beats me. But for now, I'm having a great time doing it. And if nothing else, it's a really pleasant record of my birthday.
Why do this -
Well first of all, why not? It's fun! But beyond that, I'm a big believer that working photographers, professionals, people that make their living creating images for other people, should always be doing work for themselves. (In fact, in a few weeks, Trevor Christenson and I will be speaking at a very cool photography conference, Photo Native, about this very topic.) There is value in doing something just for pleasure. So that's one reason. Another reason, is because trying to make an interesting self portrait 49 times means I have to push myself beyond the obvious, past the cliches, past the pictures I've done before. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I do not. But that act of trying will always translate into making better pictures when I'm hired by a client. So this is fun, but I also see it as a necessary step in trying to be a better photographer than I was last year.
Upward and onward! 2017!