I listen to a lot of photography podcasts and read a lot of photography blogs. One thing that repeatedly comes up as an exercise to boost creativity is a personal project. For some this may take the form of a 365 project (taking and perhaps posting online a photo every day for a year), and for others it can be using a specific piece of equipment, or photographing a certain subject - really, the sky is the limit.
I've had it in my head for quite some time now that I need to do a personal project. I've had several ideas, but one that keeps coming back to me is the California Missions. I'm a history buff in my own special way. I can't recite too many pieces of random information like who was born when and what year certain events took place, but I love love love seeing history coming alive in front of me, being in a place where I can imagine the stories of the people who lived there long before me.
I know this is one of the reasons I loved living in Italy, history was absolutely everywhere! It was so easy to go out and photograph the details around me because I knew they were historically significant. Now that I'm back in the States I've found it difficult to find the same kind of photographic inspiration I had in Europe. We, as a country, simply don't have as much history.
Once I recognized this about myself, and why I like to take certain pictures it occurred to me that California is rich in history! It may not be as old as the Colosseum in Rome, but it is the history of where I live, where I am from - it is MY history.
One of the significant aspects of California's history is the Missions, and El Camino Real. I've visited several of the missions during my life, but many not since childhood. I decided that taking on photographing every one of the 21 California Missions would be my personal project. I don't have a particular timeline involved, but in the next year (or years) I would like to visit and photograph every Mission in California.
I started my journey today at Mission San Diego de Alcala. I will share photos and a bit of history of this site later this week, but for now I will leave you with a photo of one of the many gorgeous flowers gracing the Mission grounds.
I hope you enjoy taking this journey with me. I think I will learn a lot about California, and will hopefully in the process become a better, more creative photographer.