I suck at long-term photography projects. Each year it seems, I’ll start a 365 project or 52 project & fall on my arse after the first few days or weeks. But last year, I did it. Fifty two photos, plus a couple of bonus rounds, as part of a 52 project which I founded with my now very good friends, Erika & Lacey. The idea to do a weekly project is nothing new, I know, but we weren’t trying to do anything new or big, we just wanted a photography project that we could work on, one that spoke to us & would have the added benefit of keeping us shooting for ourselves. We wanted something that we knew we would want to photograph for a whole year. We wanted to document what life with children, life as a family was really like. Not the matching outfits, manicured homes(because, what the fuck am I doing wrong if I can’t keep my house spotlessly clean & tidy when some woman on Instagram with 5 kids can keep her house sparkling & beautiful with her white walls clear of kid graffiti & her little knick-knacks proudly displayed without fear of them being smashed into a million pieces by a kid) or happy smiling faces all looking at the camera in the middle of some field as if they have been dropped there by aliens once they had completed their crop circles. And after finding Sarah Dunning Park’s poem, ‘A Spring Issue‘, we knew we had found found the name of our project, when we found the line, ‘sham of the perfect’. That was it.
We also decided that it would be nice to have a few more people join us. We were hoping for about five but when we put the call out, we ended up with 12 eager people wanting to join us. And so, our International collective was born. And when we released our messy, dirty, emotional, quirky baby into the world, we couldn’t believe how many people it resonated with. From our little project grew a big community of people documenting what their life is like – mess, mismatched outfits & all.
So here is my contribution to the project, all in one place. It overwhelms me to see it all together, so different to our weekly posts where I get to see my life piece by piece. Because when you’re in the grind it’s so easy to lose sight of it all, even though you’re preaching that it’s ok not to be perfect, that you’re good enough. To see my kids change before my very eyes, to see myself change, through my work, over the course of the year, well, that’s something else.
Thank you so much to our Sham of the Perfect ladies. And to my partners in crime, Erika & Lacey – for your friendship & support throughout the year. And don’t worry, we’re not stopping! We have already kicked off year two of the project, we have almost finished developing our new website & we have so much more going on this year, with more opportunities for our community to get involved.
Here are the links to other round up posts by our collective members. I’ll update the list as more come to hand: