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  • Writer's pictureamholtkamp

One One One - A Photographic Challenge

Although I’ve been photographing life since I was 14 years old, I’ve gone through many phase when I’d rarely shoot or, like this past year, only photographed life as a snapshot, this time with my iPhone. I always return to my first photographic love, shooting a simple camera with black and white film and a standard field of view lens.

Over the years I’ve shot 35 mm film, medium format film in 6X6, 6X7 and 645 dimensions, and large format of 4X5. I’ve also shot a variety of digital cameras with my first being a simple point and shoot to full frame DSLRs and full frame mirrorless rangefinders. Sometimes, this variety has afforded me a much needed creative change while other times I’ve reverted to the simplest of paraphernalia. And, more than once, I’ve decided to challenge myself and grow as a photographer by undergoing the most fundamental of challenges, a one one one project.

For those unfamiliar with this type of project, let me explain. Simply put, you shoot with one camera, one lens and one film for one year. These parameters confine the creator by limiting the typical distractions of gear, etc. but, in time, encourage the artist to work far beyond those limitations and to truly “see” the world and create with greater meaning, and eventually create without thinking about the medium. I’ve undergone this type of project a few times, and have noticed improvements in my craft each time. But, also in the past, I’ve undergone these projects with a film camera, one type of black and white film, and a 50 mm (normal view) lens. The last iteration of this project had me using a well-loved Leica M6, a 50mm f2 Zeiss Planar lens and Ilford HP5 film (400 ISO, black and white). I shot a minimum of three rolls per week, developed, scanned and edited the photos, then submitted to my now defunct Flickr account. I certainly noticed a vast improvement in my creative flow throughout the exercise.

So, I’ve decided to undergo yet another iteration of this project for 2023. Unfortunately, off-grid tiny house life doesn’t allow for the entire film process, and I’ve simplified my life so much that I only have one camera these days. Long gone are my film cameras, developing apparatus, and scanner. I now shoot with a simple little digital rangefinder - a Fuji X100f. For this year’s challenge, I’ll be using this little APS-C sensor camera, with its 23 mm f2 Fujinon lens - the equivalent of a 35 mm lens in 35 mm film format or a full-frame digital sensor. I’ll set the ISO to 400 and the presets internally to Acros film (a black and white film preset). I’ll shoot everything manually. I’ll shoot daily, at least 12 exposures each day, with the intention of editing and sharing at least 3 shots per week. Some days I’ll upload daily while others, depending on my access to wifi or cell data, will be three images a week, even if that means sharing several at once. And, I’ll do this for one year, 52 weeks, shooting 365 consecutive days. With my simple, small life, I know many days will include mundane shots of the surroundings of my little house and the forest which contains it, while other days will allow me to capture majestic landscapes in the Rockies or the like. I also hope to return to my greatest photographic passion, portraiture. I haven’t shot much of that for a few years but am eager to jump back in with both feet.

Please join me in 2023 as I grow as a photographer. I’ll update at least three days per week on my Instagram account, once per week on this blog, and will share monthly on my YouTube channel.

*If you would like me to photograph you for this project, I welcome the opportunity. Please contact me if you live in the British Columbia interior or, when I am traveling, if our paths may cross. I’d love to photograph you. Or, if you have interesting suggestions for subject matter or related challenges for me, I welcome your input.

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