Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Project: 5 Days

5 Days (Working Title) is a project I started in mid-October, and only just recently completed for my last grad-school critique of the semester.

I was first inspired one afternoon by the fact that I could not remember what I had eaten for dinner the night before, nor could I recall much else from the preceding day. I started to think about all the little things we see and do in our lives that we give no thought, and forget about mere hours, minutes, or seconds later. I then (rather impulsively) used my Olympus Pen FT half-frame camera to photograph whatever I was looking at every 20 minutes, 24 hours a day, for 5 days straight.

The Olympus Pen FT gets slightly more than double the standard amount of shots on a roll of 35mm film (73 pictures on a roll of 36).  I calculated that 73 shots per day, ranging from midnight to midnight, came out to one photograph every 20 minutes. So I set an alarm to go off on my phone at twenty minute intervals, and photographed whatever I was focused on when it went off, no matter how boring, stupid, or embarrassing it was (Even during the night... I didn't get much sleep). My most important rule was that I could not adjust or change what I was doing in the slightest. I wanted to be as close to 100% honest as I could get.

When the five days were up, I developed, scanned, edited, arranged, and printed the photographs in the order you see above. Each day is a separate printed strip of its 73 images, and comes out to a total of 9 inches by 33 feet when you include the border. Yes, they took a while to print (about 3 1/2 hours each), and hanging all five on the wall for critique was gigantic pain that took up the better part of a day.

I think the end result was worth all the trouble. It's abstract, voyeuristic, autobiographical, and overwhelming. It's my life, for 5 days, 20 minutes at a time.

Close-up of one section. (I wish I could post complete digital versions of each day, but the files are simply too large!)

Yes, I photographed EVERYTHING I was looking at. (Censored)

5 Days gave me some much needed insight into my own life. It made me stop to appreciate all the small, seemingly insignificant moments that make up a large portion of my life's grand narrative. Seeing all the television, computer, and cell phone screens in the final product makes me sad, and is driving me to spend my time more wisely. I'd like to do this project again sometime in the future, and see the possible changes in my life.

Thanks for looking!