Regan Nishikawa
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The Lightbulb Project // September 2017 - September 2018

In August 2017 a photographer that I had been following for several years made an announcement. He was going to start a 52 week long creative challenge and people could start to sign up to be a part of it. I had never done a challenge of any kind (30 day, 365 project, 52 week etc), but I had always wanted to try one, and it seemed like a perfect mixture of reasonings. This was a photographer that I have looked up to since I started and it's 52 weeks which means more time to do each theme. I was also hitting a creative block at this point, and I felt a challenge like this would be a great boost back into creating. And so I applied to be a part of the project and got accepted. 

Joel Robison started out the project on September 1st, 2017. I had a few weeks prior for getting ready and building excitement for the project to start and I can say I am thoroughly happy that I participated. The Lightbulb Project (TLP) has been a great experience for several reasons:

  • It brought together hundreds of creatives of differing strengths, styles, and personalities. Each week was breaking open a new treasure seeing what everyone else created. It made a great group to not only get feedback, but also find inspiration and positivity. Everyone was always so supportive of each other, despite none of us really knowing who any of the others were. Yet we were given chances to discover each other, I made friends and actually had the opportunity to meet and collaborate with a couple members (Clément). In week seven, Joel gave the extra challenge of working together with another member. I had the pleasure of collaborating with two others (Laurence, and Nix). Since both creatives were miles away from me, this challenge really showed how amazing technology is and what we can do with it.

  • It certainly pushed and challenged me. When I shoot an image, it's because I came up with an idea and I want to visually show it. However, having an idea/theme given to you forces you to think about it from outside and come up with different perspectives. It didn't always have to be a literal visual translation of the theme, and I enjoy that more conceptual part of creating.

  • It gave me an insight of myself. There were definitely weeks where I was not feeling inspired or creative and it really shows in those images. I look back and it almost feels like I put in zero effort, and I think if I could I would go back and redo them. On the flip-side, I can also see how my editing and image choices have changed in the past year. There weren't any huge changes, but it is nice having this sort of timeline available for myself. It's a bit of history of my photographic journey.

My ending thoughts:

TLP has been such a supportive group and I loved being a part of it. However, there are flaws with a challenge like this. Over the years I've slowly learned that you shouldn't just create for the sake of creating. It becomes a quantity over quality situation. There is definitely something to be said about endurance, commitment and dedication to those who complete a challenge like the 365 project. But I found that even for 52 weeks, I struggled to complete an image each week. Sometimes the ideas just aren't there, and trying to force them didn't create images that I was proud of. Now of course TLP had no obligations, we could take our time, and there were many times where I'd be behind several weeks. But I think overall there is a much healthier way of going about it. I want to create something I can look back on with joy. That being said, I think the group that the project created was fantastic. The community aspect of TLP was not something that I was expecting, and although I may have personal struggles with creativity, I think I would do the challenge again. 

Thank you again to Joel for the project, and thank you to all the members that were a part of it. 

Below are the images (with the week number and theme ) I created in the past year.