ten years of matt's life
October 10, 2003 9:31 AM   Subscribe

ten years of my life seems to be our fearless leader's newest project.
it's an idea i've picked up from time to time and then discarded because i don't think i have the discipline. does anyone know if similar projects out there?
go matt! i'm looking forward to this a lot. (via boing boing)
posted by dolface (30 comments total)
Neat. I've tried similar things before, but the best I could manage to actually stick to was about Three Days of my Life.

Good luck!
posted by xmutex at 9:48 AM on October 10, 2003

As a teenager, a friend of mine in Hamburg created an album (sadly not on line) with weekly photos of himself taken at the same photo booth at the U-bahn station near his home over a number of years. It was great to watch him grow before your eyes: hair gets longer and longer and then *poof* shaved to stubble; subtle style changes, hangovers, facial hair experiments, a black eye once... It was fascinating.

Matt, I would urge you to include yourself in the photos regularly, sort of like a yardstick throughout the process.
posted by ubi at 9:53 AM on October 10, 2003

i'm impressed! (10 years is an awfully long time to commit to tho-have you allowed yourself slack or leeway for when life happens and you can't do it for a day or more?)

and on preview: he's going to do a monthly pic throughout, ubi
posted by amberglow at 9:56 AM on October 10, 2003

I tried to do something similar with my pencam project, but I wasn't able to publish a new picture every day. I started out strong, though. (and I'd link to it, but I'm already running into bandwidth issues as it is.)

Heather seems to be on the same track as Matt, though, and is publishing a new shot daily, eschewing the commentary of her former domain.

I wish both of them good luck with it.
posted by crunchland at 9:56 AM on October 10, 2003

A friend of mine has a good streak goint at dodgeandburn.net, and having a journal is the real point of my own site too, though I don't update daily or even weekly.

include yourself in the photos regularly

Yes, please! Don't you know how hard it is to Photoshop when all you've got is this?
posted by tss at 9:58 AM on October 10, 2003

Wait a minute - didn't we just tear into that post about the fifty years of music reviews, because so far he's only six weeks into it?

Call me in ten years!
posted by yhbc at 10:07 AM on October 10, 2003

I've been doing a daily photo for a while (it'll be a full year next week), and it's quite a commitment. It kills me to post a crappy image just to fulfill an arbitrary self-imposed requirement, but overall, I'm pleased with the project, and plan to keep going for the forseeable future. We'll see.
posted by ksmith at 10:21 AM on October 10, 2003

tss: Now you have 100% more Haughey to Photoshop.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:36 AM on October 10, 2003

Wow, the only thing I think I've managed to do every day for 10 years straight is mastu uh oh, I've said too much.

Anyway, sounds like a fun journey, Matt.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:36 AM on October 10, 2003

ksmith, your site is amazing! Your ratio of a crap-to-quality is nothing to be concerned about. How the hell did you get this?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:39 AM on October 10, 2003

I've been tempted to create something similar on occasion. And then the "great way to document my life and memories" thought turns into the "will this expose my existence as the rote and stultifying fraud it has become" fear.

Guess I'll just keep jamming receipts into my wallet.
posted by jalexei at 10:44 AM on October 10, 2003

I thought about doing a drawing-a-day. One hour spent drawing, every day, at a given time. I hadn't planned on ten years... that's a bit overboard. A year, with an option to continue, seems more realistic.

Course I haven't done it.

Once you get the regular pattern set down, and reinfoced with every repetition, even when you don't feel like it... it's like, well, routine. The effort becomes less. That's how you do it with meditiation. Even if you really don't want to sit, if you just do it for ten minutes instead of your full 20, 30 or 45 minutes, it reinforces the pattern, and makes it easier tomorrow.

I find this story inspirational. Maybe I'll start.
posted by Blue Stone at 10:49 AM on October 10, 2003

wow. just wow ksmith. fantastic photos.
posted by poopy at 10:50 AM on October 10, 2003

How the hell did you get this?

Slow fly.

Seriously, there've been many, many days when I felt like just hanging it up, and could have easily. I give Matt credit for having the balls to announce his intentions upfront like this. It'll be a lot harder for him to quit, now that he's set such a public goal.

Oh, Blue Stone's comment reminded me of Andrew Bell's The Creatures in My Head.
posted by ksmith at 10:53 AM on October 10, 2003

I did a photo a day for a while, as a way of forcing myself to get more camera practice. It only lasted for a year or so, though; I found it increasingly difficult to find new pictures to take when I spent so much of my time in the same places doing the same things. I kept seeing cool things, pulling out my camera, then remembering I had already posted that photo months before. The site eventually became a repository for big groups of pictures I took at special events, but without the daily photo I just lost interest.

Matt, I think it's a great project, and I look forward to seeing how you get along with it.
posted by Mars Saxman at 11:05 AM on October 10, 2003

I'm in the process of getting ready to do the same thing with writing. Three hours a day posted to my site. I even quit my job to do it (like I really needed an excuse). However, I keep postponing the launch out of fear by saying "Better redesign the site". Ick. Excuses suck. Thanks for setting the example, matt. It's a good kick in the ass. Good luck with it. And, ksmith, I agree with the others. Some great photos!
posted by dobbs at 11:15 AM on October 10, 2003

Ten years is indeed a long time. I remember a site where the owner posted a drawing everyday for several years. Sometimes a doodle, sometimes a full-fledged illustration or portrait. It was fascinating, if slightly overwhelming.

I tried to post a photo a day as a means of sharing the thousands of digital photos I have taken over the years, but alas the novelty wore thin and daily turned to whenever I got the urge. It takes a special sort of person to be dedicated to a daily ritual for multiple years.

Pocko's #6 is an interesting book "Tracey Ferguson and Ori Gersht document their emotional journey together as a couple. For two years they photographed each other daily using a formal and isolating composition to produce a series of images that read like a discordant flip book"

Oh, and there's an app (can't remember the name) that will make an AVI or MPG of a collection of JPGs, which might be interesting to watch after 10 years. (about 150 seconds at 24fps)
posted by shoepal at 11:19 AM on October 10, 2003

Every day for one year, I took a photograph of my girlfriend standing in the same place (a few days were skewed because of traveling.) 365 photographs, a year in a life.
posted by the fire you left me at 11:31 AM on October 10, 2003

I find this type of year-long project interesting, but what I would find more interesting is a guidebook to take with me while doing all of these things.

So I could set out on a year journey to learn to be a better photographer, and with a guide I might actually get somewhere. Likewise with drawing. Likewise with writing. Likewise with [insert your art here].
posted by ringmaster at 11:34 AM on October 10, 2003

Ten years... that's quite the project. What gets me is not the scope or the length, it's the definite ending. I'm imagining doing this every day for a decade, and then coming to those last few days -- there'd bound to be plenty of emotion there.

But I really like the concept and (so far) the execution. I started a daily photolog for my farm this year, both as a way to document to myself the natural cycles and the effort I've put in, but also to give the rest of the world a window into the operation of a small farm. I started in February by writing a bit of php framework to drive everything and buying a nice 3MP camera off ebay. The reception was astounding to me, and the project has reached far beyond what I'd anticipated. People from around the world browsed by, including many thousands from Greece, where an on-line article I couldn't read linked to me. There's even licensing in the works to use some of the photos for a line of postcards, calendars, and such.

The last few weeks have been the time where nothing grows much, so I've switched the pages to a "random" mode. I plan on going daily again by November. Even without the ten year commitment, it's been mighty rewarding. And amazing to see that a non-photographer like me can take an off-the-shelf camera and create something that so many people have enjoyed.
posted by ewagoner at 11:39 AM on October 10, 2003

ksmith - great site.

And Matt raises an interesting point about what technical issues may make this exciting. 10 years ago the web was just a curious toy. At that time something like this might have gone on a gopher site. What will "the web" look like in another ten years? Will it even be possible to do something like this? Should be fun.
posted by y6y6y6 at 12:01 PM on October 10, 2003

Another excellent site, which doesn't always post a picture a day but more than makes up for it in sheer quality, is slower.
posted by jonathanbell at 1:23 PM on October 10, 2003

y6y6y6 -- Ten years is a long time, but I know this much: In ten years you'll be able to smile at an image you like, tap your thumb and index finger together twice, and the picture will be taken by the camera embedded in your front tooth.

That much I'm sure of.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:24 PM on October 10, 2003

I'm already handling what's happening now, I'm more interested in documenting what happened then... has anybody found a good solution for organizing the past? Ideally I'd like a time-line style interface. It seems a bit false to pick a past-day at random in my archives and announce that something happened on that date, since most of the important things took more than 1 day...

Oh and good luck Matt! Looking forward to seeing photo 3652 (or is it 3?)
posted by daver at 1:50 PM on October 10, 2003

Well, if we're giving ksmith a group hug, I want to thank him for this since I use it almost every workday.
posted by yerfatma at 1:50 PM on October 10, 2003

If we are talking about daily pictures, let us not forget about Dean Allen's pooch record, Daily Oliver. Who cannot love that big slobbering goof!? I have also thought about doing this, but in order to work on my pinhole photography. But the cost of the chemicals, and my lack of a real darkroom has been the key issue.
posted by plemeljr at 2:38 PM on October 10, 2003

As for once-a-day writing excercises, ten years is out, probably, for anybody. But I'm all for once-a-day-for-a-month stuff. I think it gives you enough time to get a sense of movement from one point to another without being as extreme and daunting as the next unit up, a year.

This is how I write my dreams down. Once or twice a year I'll decide on the month and then every day that month I make a Herculean effort to write down every dream I have upon awakening, either in the middle of the night or in the morning. It's a pain in the ass, but it gives me a good look at how memes and themes play out over time. And I'm able to stick to it rigorously, because I know I'm gonna quit at the end of the month.

I also belonged to an arts group years ago where we would do stuff like this - specifically I remember we had to write a poem every day for a month. Didn't matter whether they were crap, only if we did 'em. Some of them were cool.
posted by soyjoy at 7:50 PM on October 10, 2003

I guess a picture is worth a thousand words. Nice work KSmith. Oh, and good luck with that ten years thing Matt. Starting it on 10/10/03 was a nice touch.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:13 PM on October 10, 2003

ubi: "As a teenager, a friend of mine in Hamburg created an album (sadly not on line) with weekly photos of himself taken at the same photo booth at the U-bahn station near his home over a number of years."

That's nothing! This guy takes a picture of himself EVERY DAY! (Previously discussed here .)
posted by Fofer at 8:43 PM on October 10, 2003

Nice site, Matt, and I have a feeling it really will last for 10 years.

I'm gonna have to start posting photos myself. (but not daily. I can't even brush my teeth daily.)
posted by mmoncur at 4:12 AM on October 11, 2003

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