As I approached the end of my 365 project in August of 2011, I began to get nervous about how I was going to continue to challenge myself. I didn’t want to do back-to-back 365 projects, because I didn’t want to devote another year of my life to that type of project, but I knew I needed to come up with something to keep pushing myself. That’s when I came up with something that I called “THE 24 HOUR PROJECT.”
The premise of “THE 24 HOUR PROJECT” was to shoot 1 photo every hour for 24 hours straight. Each photo must be taken within its respective hour … failure to do so would result in a failed project. It was a chance for me to creatively come up with 24 unique photo ideas. From there, I was faced with having to figure out locations, wardrobe, makeup, lighting, etc … a real exercise in logistics and planning.
While finishing up my 365 project, I had teamed up with a model/photographer/artist named Nicole Jolly. Nicole and I realized that we worked pretty well together, and we both had a lot of interesting ideas to pursue. So, feeling a pretty unique bond in that regard, I decided to let Nicole in on my idea and asked her to be my partner on “THE 24 HOUR PROJECT.”
Nicole and I spent months discussing the feasibility of such a project. We both knew it would be a lot of work to plan and that shooting for 24 hours straight was going to be very difficult. We began jotting down ideas for shots, and eventually the list was becoming long enough for us to have a good selection to choose from.
When it came to the final 24 photos, it became a challenge to find ideas that weren’t too similar. We wanted diversity between artistic/abstract and storytelling, and we also needed to look at what each shot’s environment was like to ensure we didn’t over use locations or props. Distance was another factor to consider due to the time constraints. If there was too much distance between photos, it would make it nearly impossible to travel to the location, get lighting and wardrobe/makeup setup, take the shot, pack up, and move to the next location. We literally had to map out our ideas. In addition to all of these factors, we knew we wanted to create a book with the final 24 images. This meant the order we shot them in was going to be the order they appeared in the book. We spent days re-working the list until we were confident we had a solid shot lineup in place that accomplished all of these things. When all was said and done, we had identified 8 unique shoot locations that spanned 40+ miles.
The shoot began at 4 a.m. on a Saturday, after only getting about 1 hour of sleep due to last minute planning. The first couple shots were done at my house, and were pretty straightforward. We were finishing the shots quite a bit before the end of each hour… until we hit the road for our transition shots between my house in Menasha and Nicole’s house in Green Bay. We traveled from place to place, setting up, hair/makeup/wardrobe changes, getting our shots, packing-up, then moving on. After a handful of shots on the road, we arrived at Nicole’s place, and once again had the luxury of being in a home-base where travel wasn’t as much of a factor. Although we still finished our shots within their respective hours, our finish times were getting closer and closer to the end of the hour. Other major issues that started to occur was our lack of sleep and nutrition and 4 a.m. start-time catching up to us. Communication between Nicole and I started to break down a little. In fact, somewhere around hour 17 we ran into some new issues, and I thought for sure that we would not make it to the end. But, we were able to muster the strength to keep pushing forward through it all, finishing the last photo just shy of 4 a.m. on Sunday morning.
After a few hours sleep, we traveled 40 miles back to my house and began the process of editing photos and creating the book. Within a matter of days, our book was completed and released.
During the course of planning this project, Nicole was met with some devastating news … her Aunt was diagnosed with Stage IV cancer. Her Aunt’s family set up a fundraising event, so Nicole and I decided that we would allocate a portion of the book sale profits toward the benefit during the week of the event. It seemed like a great opportunity to raise awareness and funds through our audience and was a way for us to give something.
For Nicole and I, the project was a major success. We still can’t believe we were able to complete it, and we are so proud. In addition, this project allowed us to give to a cause that meant a lot to us. We wouldn’t have been able to do that without this project and the support of our family, friends, and fans.
When I finished my 365 project, I thought I might not ever embark on a project as rigorous as that one… but the truth is that with a 365 project, you have 24 hours to fail… with a 24 hour project, you have 1 hour to fail. “THE 24 HOUR PROJECT” made my 365 project look like a cakewalk.
I want to take a moment to thank Jeremy Cowart and his crew for presenting us with the opportunity to share this project with you. I also would like to thank Nicole Jolly for embarking on this project with me, and for all the hard work and late nights she invested into this. And finally, I would like to encourage you to consider checking out “THE 24 HOUR PROJECT” book options available on Blurb.