A Year in Photographs by Adrian Galli

Sunset @ 25,000ft – Day 361

Sunset @ 25,000ft – Day 361

One year ago, I set out on a person mission, my New Year resolution and creative endeavor to take a photo every day for 365 days with each month a theme. 2018 is here and 2017 has come to its completion and thus A Year in Photographs concludes.

It is somewhat bittersweet to end this project. For an entire year my mind has been at work photographing everything around me. It is also a relief. There were days and weeks where it was very hard to get out and photograph; or at least follow my theme. Some months were very busy with work and other events. But all good things must come to an end.

I learned a lot about myself and photography. I pushed myself and took many along this journey but I think I will keep this simple.

When I set out on this journey in January of 2017, I was very excited. I felt somewhat in a rut professionally and A Year in Photographs gave me some purpose creatively. I also recall a post not too many days into this project concerned I wouldn't have enough storage for all the photos I was taking. And had I continued that path, I would have thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of photographs.

I would head out every day with my camera and take photo after photo after photo and end up with a hundred by the end of that day. Two things were an issue: I didn't want to store all this and, two, frankly, I soon found I didn't have time to photograph as much as I thought I needed to.

This need wasn't about actually needing the quantity, it was about lack of focus. While I enjoy running around, wandering, with my camera and taking photographs, it simply wasn't practical to do when sometime in the future I would find myself working sixteen hour days. Instead, I soon found that I needed to adapt and become even more creative. 

Chicago River – Day 26

Chicago River – Day 26

My daily mission wasn't to shoot a bunch of photographs and pick my favorite one to post for the day. My mission became that of having a precise creative vision. In other words, whatever my theme was for the month, I pushed myself to envision what I wanted to capture that day and go out and find it. Rather than wandering, although I still did that when I had a chance to, I would set out to find the image specifically; knowing where I could/would find it and make it happen.

As it turned out, rather than taking dozens of photos, I would take just a few and find what I wanted. When time was short and other circumstances would keep me from taking all the time in the world to photograph, this learn was huge.

Some months I had the chance to also work with some colleagues and friends. Erik Dirksen and Juan Galindo were two who I set out on a day of photography. I also enjoyed some time with old friends—Rory Coyne, a friends and artist, allowed me to photograph him as he worked. I hope to do more small projects like this in the future as time allows.

Further, Mazi and Chrissy, two good friends, requested me to photography their wedding. While it was not a normal skill of mine, it was a great opportunity and fun to get out of my usual creative space. One of my favorite photographs from the entire year came from this shoot.

Mazi and Chrissy – Day 245

Mazi and Chrissy – Day 245

My one opportunity with this project was to take it even further. Of course, hindsight is 20/20. But let this not sound like a defeat or complaint. It is merely another learn from this that there is so much more to photograph, so many more endeavors left that one could not achieve them in a single year.

Looking back over the year, I noticed that things began to work together. Things I worked on or learned earlier in the year, for example Color or Shapes and Patterns, became important influences in Perspective and Details. People played an important part in Cinematic while Minimalism and Black and White influenced Night

While this project has come to an end, I enjoy looking back over the 365 photographs I've taken. It was tough, sometimes even foreboding when I could not imagine having time to do it, but it was an incredible experience. I recommend to anyone who enjoys photography to engage in such an adventure.

January – Black and White
February – Shapes and Patterns
March – People
April – Minimalism
May – Color
June – Architecture
July – Signs and Symbols
August – Night
September – Cinematic
October – Perspective
November – Motion
December – Details

A Year in Photography: 365 days, 12 themes, each day a challenge. Here are some of my favorites from 2017.

May — A Year in Photographs by Adrian Galli

A month in color.

Honolulu Blue, Chicago, 5/4/2017

Honolulu Blue, Chicago, 5/4/2017

May was a particularly challenging month. The theme: Color. The challenge: sharing color images, only, but the subject must be a different color than the rest of the image. Each image named after the color and their color values as just a bit of trivia.

Starting out, I had a rather tight beginning to May and my schedule. I didn’t quite get off on the right foot. In fact, this was a month of mild frustration when is came to photography. I felt the most out of my element since the beginning of this project.

Candy Apple Red, Chicago, 5/1/2017

Candy Apple Red, Chicago, 5/1/2017

I find my color photography only lends itself to color when the photograph is best in color. In other words, as I’m capturing a photograph, I usually know then and there whether it will be black and white or color. Black and white is a comfortable place for me to photograph. I can “see” in black and white and I know what to expect when I convert my color image to black and white.

Color is really the same way. I literally see in color but there is a twist. I color image right out of the camera is rarely compelling. Why so many people use or used different film stock is to gain a certain style or look to their image.

The beauty of digital photography is one gets pretty much what one sees and then has the opportunity to apply their style to the image in post production. There lies the challenge. With black and white, the image might have a red filter or blue filter applied, higher or lower contrast, but over all, it will simply be black and white. That statement belies complexity of shooting black and white but color has a wide range of variables much harder to imagine.

Urobilin, Chicago, 5/8/2017

Urobilin, Chicago, 5/8/2017

The frustration was more or less the time I did not have to pursue this theme to my perfectionist conclusion. However, I found it compelling because I had to use several past themes to help sort out my vision. One theme in particular, April’s theme, Minimalism.

To have a subject stand out from the background as the only object in the image to maintain its color is a challenge. Urobilin, brought minimalism and color together. It ended up being in the middle of the pack when it comes to my favorite photographs of the months but it exemplifies the essence of the theme of Color.

On the other hand, People was my March theme and occasionally also popped up as with Sinopia, KU Crimson, and Portland Orange.

Sinopia, Chicago, 5/17/2017

Sinopia, Chicago, 5/17/2017

There were numerous automative images and staged photographs. Many food photos worked their way in which I rarely shoot but one’s kitchen is full of color. And the one thing I noticed most about this endeavor, aside for the challenge, it how little color people wear, or things in the city appear in color. There are places in this world where the lack of color would be the exception of the rule but, here in Chicago, while the city is beautiful, it does not share of the color of say Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

While this month did not bring as many outstanding photographs has past months, two valuable ideals came from this theme.

  1. Learning what you don’t want is equally as important as what you do want.
  2. Being the most challenging theme thus far, it was a huge learning experience and honed a certain virtue of minimalism, in which I had little experience.

Like People, I will continue this theme as a branch of A Year in Photographs but June is here and, as such, a new theme: Architecture. I am certain to enjoy this month in one of my favorite subjects of both photography and vocations and can not wait to start sharing photographs of June.

Up next: JuneArchitecture

Color — May