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  • Jürgen Niit

365 photo challenge

My more serious "relationship" with photography started actually in Australia. I just had arrived here in 2015 April and was looking for new challenges and experiences. One thing in life that I always wanted to do is to buy a decent DSLR camera. Since being here in down under I thought I should record my adventures and journey in general. After the first few weeks in my new job, I went to the store I bought it. It was a happy day and I still have the first photo I ever took with it in archive disks.

Mona had big influence on my photography

Actually I paid for some of my accommodation costs in a hostel for taking photos of hostel events. That was related to another challenge - I wanted to live in hostel at least 6 months. In the hostel, I met quite few new good friends all over the globe. One of them was Mona Jane Harper. With her, we took long walks in the city and did all the photography in the world. She showed me some tricks and tips, also did the editing of my photos.

international workteam

INSTAGRAM CHALLENGE BEGINS...

...28 of November. On my adventures around Australia, I worked with two Canadian guys who introduced me to Instagram. You know, that small picture sharing platform (only 50 billion photos have uploaded so far). As I'm not a big sharer in real life or social media I decided it's time to open up a little bit. So I joined my passion for photo/videography with Instagram and took a challenge to post at LEAST one photo every day. Share something about myself and my surroundings. Also, I wanted to test my consistency in photography - is it something that I like to do a long time or it's gonna pass with a few months, weeks or days? So account @gentelmanwithbackpack was born. Well, I was brought up with good manners and I was backpacking, so it seemed an obvious choice.

There were few ground rules or guides I made for the challenge

  • photos had to be taken by me

  • no daily food photos unless there is a story to tell (like Phuket food festival, a medieval bar where waitress is always right)

  • no selfies unless there is a story to tell (climbed a volcano in Ecuador, met and stayed with one of the biggest international NLP practitioners)

  • not deleting any photos to keep track on my progression - no matter how bad or embarrassing

  • honesty creates authenticity

One thing I like to clarify was that I didn't take a new photo every day. That wasn't my intention - varying hours at work and traveling made it quite hard.

to get some good shots

EAST PEASY

At first, it was easy. I took a shot of a thing/action I liked during the day and posted it. Simple as that. More I did it I started looking to take photos that can tell stories themselves. I wanted to take storytelling from the caption into the photo. I succeeded sometimes and not so much at other times.

Bondi beach in Sydney

HITTING THE WALL(S)

Were there times I wanted to quit? Yes! and quite a few times. As I see it, it is pretty natural. There is always resistance if you have to do something every day. I think it is in human nature.

I almost throw the towel in when I got pick-pocketed in Ecuador. They stole my phone and I thought that's it - Instagram lets only post through a mobile phone app and I didn't have money to spend on a new smartphone. BUT... I didn't want to quit so easily. After little Googeling I found an emulator for Windows operating system. I had wait through commercials before I could post but I didn't quit. Also handling stuff with insurance and police grew whole other adventure.

my traveling buddy

While traveling it is pretty easy to get shots of your surroundings and cultures that are new to you. Challenge went harder when arrived home and had to start looking at familiar surroundings with a new glance. Find a story and beauty in everyday surroundings.

CHALLENGE GREW INTO PROFESSION

Honestly, I would never dared to dream that it might bring in money and grow to a full-time profession. I was brought up by my grandma on a farm on a small island. Mostly creative work was considered as a waste of time. Strong physical work and even stronger work ethics were considered admirable. I'm actually glad because strong and structured work ethics works well in my current business and creative work. This challenge grew into my everyday habit. Once I stopped I felt that something was missing from my life. Now I know that a good photo takes planning, time and dedication. If you ask me now to take this kind of everyday challenge I would decline. I have been thinking about weekly challenge....never know. I'm sure that new challenges gonna open new opportunities.


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