The most regretful people on earth are those who felt the call to creative work, who felt their own creative power restive and uprising, and gave to it neither power nor time.
~ Mary Oliver
For the past 24 days I’ve been going to bed with a smile on my face, switching off all my social media apps, turning off the light, feeling peaceful, thoughtful, and grateful. For the last 24 days I’ve been waking up with a feeling of anticipation – switching on my social media apps and waiting for the pings of notifications…
And those pings of notifications have been constant – and it has brought a permanent smile to my face. From ear to ear my face has been brimming with happiness and my heart full of pride.
You see, 24 days ago, I set our Academy Members a bit of a Challenge – to take a photo a day that describes/shows/depicts a certain word. There were no “Camera / Photography” rules, no set-in-stone direction or guidelines in regards to techniques, skill or post processing – All that was needed for those taking part was to take a picture and upload it to our Welshot forum on a daily basis. Welshot Academy Members would have a chance to win the prize bundle because they completed the challenge – not on the standard of photograph taken. The main aim was to get Welshotters taking a photo, every day, for 31 days.
I will be honest here, on two fronts: 1. I didn’t choose the words – I swiped them from a challenge I was supposed to do in January on Instagram – a Mindfulness challenge to make me think, relax and take some time out, even if just for 15 minutes a day – I. Failed. Miserably. Not even two days in and it was pushed aside like an unwanted toy. 2. I really didn’t hold out much hope that anyone would take up the challenge.
Right from the beginning I’d decided that we would give an amazing prize to a number of Members who did accomplish this challenge – and my thought process was if they did achieve the task of uploading an image, depicting a certain word each day then they jolly well deserved that huge prize bundle…
Now, the reason(s) I didn’t hold out much hope were: 1 – We’ve had challenges before – usually based around photography or specific photographic genres, or what we know Members have been able to capture at our Welshot Academy Events and I think it is fair to say, they have always been a bit hit and miss and definitely not consistent. 2 – Mindfulness Words? Really? Some really tough words were in that mix and it was going to require a think-outside-the-box mentality. 3 – It. Was. A. Photo. A. Day – it requires commitment, dedication and sometimes a notification on your phone to remind you to take and upload the image before the clock strikes midnight.
To say I have been blown away is an understatement, I’ve been bowled over with the response and I’ve looked at EVERY image at the time of upload and I’ve loved them all – each and every photo has brought a smile to my face. I am in awe of those who have taken part, every day, the thought that has gone into this challenge has been incredible and even some of the hardest words have created some original, fun. thought provoking and, in a lot of cases, some really good photography – to be used as art on the wall or stock images. Seriously – those photos are something to be proud of in more ways than one.
My smiles have also come from those Welshotters who have just dipped their toes in – occasionally offering an image or two every now and again – it has not been motivated by the prize haul but that of wanting to take part, to belong to a community of like-minded people, to join in and create or maybe just because they fancied a specific word. Those Academy Members are to be congratulated too – they’ve done something new, they’ve maybe learned something and most definitely they have used their camera – whether it is a DSLR, CSC or a phone – they’ve created.
You can see the Challenge here: Capturing July in Photography Challenge
Every Welshot Photographic Academy Member who has taken part in this challenge should give themselves a BIG pat on the back, they’ve stepped up to the plate, they’ve created, they’ve challenged themselves and instead of “Wishing” they could do create something they’ve just gone right ahead and done it…
Wonder what they’d say if I was to give them another challenge for August?
Let me know in the comments below if you’d like to be challenged in August – Also, what’s your fave photo so far – we might do a spot prize with the most popular.
Featured Image Credit: Academy Member Louisa Crossley.