The Project

One photo a day. 365 days.

It was a project I undertook last March, knowing that it would be a powerful testiment to my commitment issues, photography growth, and personal journey as a 20-something in transition. I did not even fathom just how much life would change in that one transforming year.

project 365 book opening page

When I was living in the midst of the highs and lows of each day, I didn't always recognize that changes that were taking place. We were living an adventure and discovering our careers with enthusiasm, loving the luxury of finally being together after the military, and discovering our new home. Then we were struggling with doubt and questions, wondering endlessly if we were doing the right things or in the right places.

But when I look back, I'm able to see how every piece fit together so beautifully without my even realizing. And I see now that the picture I snapped with my phone doing laundry on the bed or the homemade pizza Matt and I split on weekends (my portion with spinich and tomatoes, his with extra cheese) - they paint a picture of our life right now The one year we lived together, just the two of us, in a cozy little apartment in Charlottesville, VA. (With Bourbon, too, of course. There is so much Bourbon in this book - sorry not sorry.)

project 365 book page

It reminds me of the lonely season Matt & I spent apart while he was training to be a developer in Chicago and I was training a brand new puppy at my parent's house. It reminds me of the excitement of interviewing and moving to Charlottesville. It reminds me how we went whiskey tasting with my grandma at Thanksgiving and how I photographed my newest baby nephew at Christmas. It reminds me of the wonderful people I met over the course of a year -- the new clients who stepped in front of my camera and helped me continue develop my dream as a photographer, even in a new city.

It captures the changing seasons of our first full year together after moving back from Hawaii, the journey of house hunting, and finally, the biggest change of all. Flipping through the photos taken in the last week of my project, the impact blows my mind and my eyes fill with tears every time. On Friday, March 13 2015, I found out I was pregnant. The following day, we found out our offer was accepted on a home. Life turned full circle in a matter of hours.

(This picture is one of the most special - it's how I told my husband the news about our new baby. I was about to go out of town for a shoot but couldn't leave without sharing, so I packed up the car and grabbed the ring box that was sitting on my dresser which had once housed my engagement ring. I wrote the little note on a strip of paper and then drove to his work. When he came outside, clueless about my random mid-day pitstop, I gave him the box. And we stood on the side of the road in downtown Charlottesville hugging and laughing and crying together like a pair of happy fools.)

This book is now more than I ever dreamed it could be. The photos are the story of a pivotal year of my life - the one year in this apartment, the first year in Charlottesville, the first full year I actually got to live with my husband, and the year before I became a mom. Every year in life is pivotal - we sometimes just don't realize how much that's true until something like this makes us literally see the incredible journey a little slower and a little sweeter.

The Book

I'm a pretty modest person, but I can't hide the fact that I am proud of this book. I stuck with the project and knew that at the end, I wanted to have something I could hold, that would sit on every living room coffee table we would own for the next 70 years, something I could show my kids one day - apparently sooner than I thought. I went with Blurb for the publishing and used my InDesign software to perfect each layout. If you ever want to make a photo book, this is a consumer lab and they have lots of management tools to design a knock-out book - you don't have to know InDesign to work with it. But the color is spot on and the quality is fantastic. This one is a 12x12 hardbound book with a tan, linen cover (which I actually love even more than the dust jacket that comes with it) and steel grey inserts for a contemporary, finished look.

I couldn't be happier with the finished product. If you ever come to my house, you'll probably end up with it shoved in your lap at some point because I just love it that much. I've always been a hopeless romantic, stupidly sentimental, and overly nostalgic - so this book definitely makes the list as one of my most prized posetions.

Read more from the journey

If you're interested in seeing more images and reading more stories from my Project 365, visit these links to catch up on my year in review.

Past, Present, Future - the start of Project 365 Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 May June & July August & September October November & Deceber + tips for starting your own Project 365 January February