I'm trying to figure out how to give myself more incentive. I was thinking a project of some sort might work. I'm already growing so fond of Oak Park, I'm thinking that perhaps I could do some sort of documentary / writing thing. 365 Days of Walking in Oak Park, but with a catchier title. And during the walk, I'd try to take at least one interesting photograph, and after the walk, I'd try to take fifteen minutes to write a bit of poetry or prose. Nothing fancy. Post them all in a blog -- separate from this one, I think.
It raises some questions, though. For example, if doing such a project, does it make more sense, coherence-wise, to actually start January 1, rather than partway through October? I can't help thinking about the finished product, and it seems like a random start is a little troublesome.
Question two -- what do you do about the days you're out of town? I don't expect so many of those in the next year, but probably at least 2-3 weeks overall, mostly 3-4 days at a time, although perhaps 2 weeks at Xmas. It feels unsatisfying to skip them. Does it detract from the project if you take some photos in advance, so you can keep posting daily? You can still do the writing daily, in response to the photos. But then it's not really 365 days of Oak Park, but rather, 365 days celebrating Oak Park. Alternately, I could recruit local friends to take photos when I'm gone and e-mail them to me, but then I'd need to be able to rely on them to send them right away, so I don't accidentally skip a day. Or I could just skip photos on those days, but that seems a bit sad. What do you think?
Question three -- which camera? The iPhone is with me always, and certainly convenient. But I have been occasionally frustrated when I took a great photo on the iPhone, knowing that it wouldn't have the resolution necessary to make a good large print. Should I just take my Canon with me every day? It easily fits in a pocket, so it's not such a hardship. I suspect the answer to that is just yes -- although there is sort of a nice quotidian aspect to using the iPhone, since it's what I would normally carry with me every day, walking through Oak Park. But I suspect picture quality wins out here.
How hard is it to take photos when your fingers are frozen, anyway? :-)
Question four -- do I keep it kid-safe? I could imagine the Oak Park library people, for example, being excited about using this as part of their library website, if it comes out well. But if I have that in mind, I think there'd be a tendency to avoid anything sexual in the text (and trees can be pretty damn sexy, to my mind). And even the race issues that are hard to avoid commenting on in Oak Park -- would I shy away from those? I suspect if the goal is to make good art, I need to just write what I write and deal with it. They can always put up an edited, excerpted version, I suppose. Although again, less satisfying as an artistic whole.
Question five -- I'm not a great photographer, I know. Would this be a better project, better art if I tried to find a professional photographer to partner with? Collaborations can be fruitful, I hear, although I am also a somewhat terrible collaborator. Too much of a control freak. And of course, that option would take away from the original goal of motivating myself to go outside and walk every day.
Question six -- Oak Park is bigger than what I can reasonably walk, given time constraints. Should I sometimes bike or even drive to another part of town, to balance the photography? I suspect yes, although that again counteracts the whole walking thing a bit. Although I certainly walk once I'm there. And that could easily be combined with necessary trips to other parts of Oak Park -- i.e., my Monday evening knitting group in the Harrison Street Arts District; I could just go early and have my bit of walk beforehand.
Question seven -- should I maybe just do a practice month-long project, before launching into a year-long commitment? Would that sap the energy away, or be a good way of assessing, realistically, how interesting / do-able this project really is?
Any other thoughts you have on this would be great -- I don't want to just dash into this (my normal approach) without really thinking through how it would work best.