365 days a year we wake up, go through our daily routines, and view our lives from the same perspective. Now imagine waking up one morning and seeing your whole world from behind a camera lens. This is what Project 365 is all about – the challenge is to take one photo a day for an entire year. Suddenly every moment becomes a photo opportunity, and every human interaction a potential portrait. For USF students Amanda Rhoades and senior Sean Culligan, this was a photography challenge they decided to take on and see to its completion. After 365 days of lugging around camera equipment, creeping on strangers around the city, and playing paparazzi for friends, Culligan and Rhoades tell all of their battle wounds and victories.
“I decided to do Project 365 to improve my photography. It was a good challenge to develop my own style, and find new ways of looking at stuff I was used to looking at everyday,” said freshman Amanda Rhoades. With a strong emphasis on photojournalism, Rhoades’ photos tell a narrative. Many of her portraits paint a story through the subjects’ candid expressions, while other photos portray acts of political activism and social movements. For a number of photos, Rhoades took to the streets to shoot protests such as Occupy San Francisco. She was not one to shy away from any opportunity for the sake of a good photo. “Once I went out shooting and I was caught up in front line of a Neo-Nazi protest. Between Neo-Nazis, Anti-Nazis, and police officers. I had to climb over a fence with my camera gear just to get out of the situation.”
Rhoades also attended many Occupy SF events to document a major political movement in the streets of San Francisco.
Through the duration of Project 365, Rhoades documented major life changes like her high school graduation in Claremont, California, her move to San Francisco, and her first semester at USF.
Even through sick days, Rhoades continued to commit to the project.
“I kept shooting through sickness and health. It reads like a marriage vow. I dragged myself out of bed because it was worth it” explained Rhoades.
For his Project 365, junior Sean Culligan experimented with different lighting techniques when shooting portraits, still lifes, and even extreme sports. With exemplary technical skill paired with an artistic eye, Culligan shoots photos that are dramatic and eye-catching. Culligan claims that Project 365 has not only helped improve his photography, but has opened doors for his career as well. “Indirectly related to the project I received an internship at the SF Chronicle. I’ve been paid to take peoples portraits. I’ve even made a lot of new friends through the project by just challenging myself to meet new people and photograph them,” said Culligan.
For any photographer attempting Project 365, one of the biggest challenges is finding inspiration for a great photo every day. However, Culligan argues the opposite. “The misconception here is you always have inspiration or a great subject matter. Honestly, you won’t have a great photo everyday… You really have to get into the mindset that you’ll do your best to get a photo, and if it’s not the best photo, you just have to let it go. I realized this very early on and you just have to shoot through it,” said Culligan.