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Dana Whitley: How I found inspiration for my 365 project during Lockdown

Hello! I am Dana and on December 1st I began embarking on my very first 365 project (that definitely sounded like an introduction to a photography addiction group....sorry).

I knew it would be a challenge, but I hoped that it would bring a lot of growth to my art.

I have always been drawn to gorgeous environmental portraits: Movement from the wind, overgrown fields, and the tallest trees reaching for the skies. It is always what I stop and linger at on Instagram and what I lusted after in my own work.

Real life, for me, is actually takes place in the middle of the suburbs. I am surrounded by cookie cutter houses, concrete as far as the eye can see, and a few little trees in our itty bitty yards that back up to other itty bitty yards.

I tried to plan for lots of outings where I could capture the nature that drew me in, but I rarely photographed in my own home.

There is nothing wrong with my home, it honestly just wasn't what I wanted aesthetically from my art.

However, like the rest of the world, unforeseen challenges came my way with the Covid-19 pandemic. I had to basically throw my ideas and inspiration list out the window and start from scratch.

I was unsure how I was going to continue in my project while I was quarantined in my home, but I kept going. I pushed through what I felt was a long series of "blah" photos. I simply wasn't feeling inspired.

Then I realised something. This is our life! These are our beautiful children and the reality that they are living in! What is uninspiring about that??

I don't want my boys to grow up and be looking through boxes and boxes of loose prints and wonder where the photos are of them playing in the yard. Where are the photos of their childhood bedroom? Why are there no photos of the swing set or learning to ride a bike in our court? Where are the photos of that year we did school at home??

This is our life, and I have the incredible privilege of being our family historian.

So, I made a huge shift in my attitude! I began watching my house and where the light fell. I began experimenting with different angles and perspectives so every day didn't start looking repetitive....though that is our life during this time, right?

I accepted that my project was not going to be what I set out for it to be, and that is OK! I have fallen in love with the shadows that cast into my kitchen in the early mornings. I have found new things to admire and be inspired by.

I want to document our lives as authentically as I can. I want my boys to grow up and look through our prints, and I want to hear a room full of laughter and stories, knowing that memories are being sparked from those moments frozen in time. 

You can find Dana on Instagram.

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