What I’ve Learned Doing Photography Challenges

Today I shared the entire last year of self-portraits from March 2014 to 2015 that I captured weekly for my 52 Weeks of Self-Portraits project. I thought I’d also write down some of my thoughts about the project/challenge and why you may want to start one of your own or not. Also quick side note, apologizes if this post might not be as polished as I usually strive for. I’m still recovering and bed ridden from a concussion I received last week coincidently from my last self-portrait shoot so I’m off my game.

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52 Weeks of Self-Portrait: A Year in Review

If you wish to view each post, click here!


52 Weeks of Self-Portrait: Flawless

49/52 Flawless

52 weeks of self-portraitThis week’s self-portrait makes me very nervous and was one of the first ideas that came to me when I decided to do the 52 Weeks of Self-Portrait project. I know it may seem like a regular photo to you but this photo was very hard for me to take and shows one of my biggest insecurities just out there for all to see. If you didn’t notice on my right knee I have a scar that is 8 inches long going straight down the middle (I like to joke the grim reaper made it with his scythe). I received this scar at the age of 13 after getting knee surgery to temporarily correct an incurable genetic knee disorder that I have in both knees (basically my knees dislocated whenever they want and I usually end up in the hospital every few years to get it put back in, and afterwards I can’t walk for about a month). I only have the one scar because I didn’t get surgery done of the 2nd knee as the surgery was so brutal I still haven’t recovered feeling/full motion 16 years later and the surgery doesn’t cure the problem instead it’s like a 4 year band aid. Although it’s a part of me I do go to great lengths to hide it from everyone, in fact there are some people who’ve been friends with me for years who’ve never seen it and don’t even know I have it. I almost never leave the house without wearing pants, leggings, or over the knee socks because of it and I can’t even remember what it’s like to wear shorts in the summer. I’ve worked on my insecurity a lot and yes in the last few years my rules about leaving the house with it covered have loosened and inside my house I wear whatever the hell I want but it’s still not something I go out of my way of share with people so today I’m sharing it with you. I’ve got plenty of other scars on my body that I’m proud of and not afraid to show the world but for some reason my knee one just breaks me down, so I decided it was important to include in this project. It’s who I am, and considering I will always have this knee disorder I should embrace it. I’ve actually thought a great project to do would be to do a whole series of people showing their scars and help them feel glamorous and beautiful despite any insecurity they have, it’s certainly something I need to work on myself!

Oh and it was snowing on me when I took this photo, why, Montreal, why? Although it has been only -3 most of the week the gods will not let us have spring just yet even though the time went back today (yay still sunny at 6pm!). At least it was warm enough to sit outside today barefoot in a large sweater and no pants on…cos that’s normal. My sweater btw is My Little Pony, so glorious. Check the photo below for a better look at it. Hope you have a great week and are feeling flawless today.

52 weeks of self-portrait  (2)Another note, if you follow this project and noticed the number just leaped up from 43 to 49 today you are not crazy. I am apparently terrible at counting to 52 and for the last few weeks have been thinking it’s crazy that I had so many weeks left to do when I started this project in April. So yesterday I looked back at all my posts and realized a few of them had the same number and in September I actually put a number that was 6 weeks behind for some reason even though the week before was correct and have been counting 6 weeks behind since….I know…you can shake your head. I realize it’s really dumb of me and I’ve vowed never again to start writing this post at 3am as apparently I can’t count late at night, lol. That means only 3 weeks left!


52 Weeks of Self-Portrait: Statue

48/52 Statue

52 Weeks of Self-portrait (2)The self-portrait for this week’s 52 Weeks Project is not my favourite, am I allowed to say that?

I shot it outside my work on my lunch break, which I mean I think you can tell I did this last minute. It’s easy by looking at my photography to see I am a fan of natural lighting and clearly I don’t own a soft box and any fancy equipment that allows me to shoot indoors at ease. So when it’s the winter I get very overwhelmed by how little light there actually is. This week I had training at work which meant I had to be at work every day for the entire amount of sunlight that Montreal gives us this time of year and then had 1 day off this weekend before working another day shift today. I’m not complaining (too much) but today on the last day I could, I plucked up my camera before heading off to work where it was collecting dust from not being picked up all week and snapped this at the statue in the parc in front of my work. Can you see my frown lines? Yearly projects are draining, some days you hate them, some days you are grateful and again like my 365 Days Project I wonder if I’m missing the point completely?


52 Weeks of Self-Portrait: The Snow Yak

47/52 The Snow Yak

52 weeks of self-portrait snow yak mark ryden mask (1)I can’t believe there are only 10 more self-portraits left before I finish my 52 Week project. This week’s came to me in the middle of the night when I realized that soon the snow might be gone and thought, hey that Mark Ryden mask I have of The Snow Yak should make an appearance this winter. If you want a weather report of Montreal, it’s been snowing all week and -30 except for today so I’m crazy for thinking the snow will go away any time soon. I’ve been all over the place this week so it’s not hard to imagine my braid would leap there. My friend Zara is moving out of Montreal back to the West Coast and I think it’s really made me feel like I need to change up my life some way too so I’ve been obsession this week about organizing my house. Last night I finally hit my breaking point and I started moving furniture around at 3am (sorry downstairs neighbours) and completely changed how my living room/office looks. I had been thinking of turning our entrance room into a library of sorts and making the living room to be more functional as an office so I just started doing it. Right now everything around me is a mess but I feel like the next week I can organize and make positive changes and maybe that’ll clear my head a bit. This week inspirational song goes with the theme by the way, a British indie band by the name of…


“So I took a trip inside my mind
And it opened up these eyes which had been blind
I saw wonders I can’t define
Then I lost control and I fell
From this earthly heaven into hell
how long i stayed there, I couldn’t tell”

Yeti “Never Lose Your Sense of Wonder”

52 weeks of self-portrait snow yak mark ryden mask (2)I love the expression the mask has direct on, it’s so joyful.


52 Weeks of Self-Portrait: Rip My Heart Out

46/52 Rip My Heart Out

52 weeks of self-portraitThere was no way I was leaving my house for this week’s 52 weeks self-portrait as it’s been -30 all week, so instead I decided to play around with Victor’s laser pointer and make heart shapes in my living room. It seems every time I do black and white self-portraits that I do them in here, something I didn’t realize until I went to post this. I notice a lot of patterns when it comes to photo project, not matter how hard you try sometimes you just default to similar themes, locations, ectera. This week’s inspiration song btw makes me crack up. I think I’m the only person beside Victor who didn’t know about this amazing song. I heard it last weekend when I went to see my friend Derek dj and it’s been both of our’s jam since. Give it a listen if you haven’t heard it either. I’m in love with the coco…


“I’m in love with the coco
I’m in love with the coco
I got it for the low, low
I’m in love with the coco

36, that’s a kilo (aqui)
Need a brick, miss my free throw
I’m in love, just like Ne-Yo “

O.T. Genasis “Coco”


52 Weeks of Self-Portrait: Toronto

45/52 Toronto

52 Weeks of self-portrait (2)While I was visiting Toronto this week I thought I should try and do my 52 Weeks self-portrait which was probably not the greatest decision. It seemed the whole time we were there, either there was a snow storm outside or me and Victor were really busy eating and hanging out with friends. I couldn’t even snap one in the hotel because our room bizarrely enough didn’t have a window but instead a view of the hotel’s rock garden….it was like living in a basement suite all over again. Luckily yesterday we found this train museum after I decided I wanted to see the harbor and look at the frozen lake (which we never got to because we were too cold and had no idea where to go). It’s hard to see in this photo but I’m balancing on the last step of an antique train. I thought it was neat that it looked like I was floating above the snow below. As well I love when snowflakes stick to my hair. Hope you had a good weekend, I’m writing this from the train today as we slowly make our way back to Montreal and can’t wait to be home.


“I was addicted to ‘no absolutes’ kinda
But now I am very simple
Other interpretations possible
All this fear was drug induced
Drug induced
Drug induced”

Limblifter ‘Drug Induced’


52 Weeks of Self-Portrait: Cotton Candy Do

44/52 Cotton Candy Do

52 weeks of self-portrait (2)The 52 Weeks self-portrait this week is of my newest hair, which I officially duped the Cotton Candy Do because it really reminds me of watching someone spin cotton candy. There are just so many various gradients of color and the tonnage from the top to the ends is pretty epic. I was a little sad that I made it darker than I intended but it feels great to have gotten rid of my roots and updated the color. I can’t wait for it to get a bit more faded and more pastel. Today also marks the end of January and hopefully the end of being trapped inside. This weekend I actually had a lot plans before my friend who was supposed to be coming into town for a trip but flaked out and didn’t come last minute. I still did end up dancing till midnight last night for 2 hours in -22 weather but otherwise this week I stayed curled up tight inside my house except for when I had to go to work. I am pretty bored of taking photos on my balcony and house but next week I’m in Toronto and maybe I’ll get a chance to take a more exciting photo. Hope you guys have a good week.


Aphex Twin – Demos

(I didn’t know these existed until last night and have been listening to them non-stop since – there is 110 of them and Aphex Twin created a fake Soundloud account and just started uploading them some time last weekend.)


52 Weeks of Self-Portrait: Contrast

41/52 Contrast

52 weeks of self-portraitThis week’s self-portrait for my 52 Weeks of Self-Portrait project came about because I’ve been thinking a lot about a part of my past this week and I really just wanted a release myself from it. What better way to do this then dress up in my favourite sweater and put on my new black lipstick (which reminds me of my early 20’s and goth days) and take a photo of me happy and confident. So far it’s worked and helped me focus on more important things. I find it really hard if I’m triggered on something to not go down the rabbit hole….something I am working on. I ended up taking more than just 1 photo of myself and have a ton on interesting double exposure shots that I will be sharing soon as well so you may see more of this combination in the upcoming weeks. Hope you have been having a great week. I am starting mine with a fresh mindset


“This is forgiven, if the uniform fits
Postponed, at the first showing
This is the tension mold of frozen icicles
And it feels like it’s snowing, you speak in tongues
Tremors that warn us of ourselves”

– At The Drive-In ‘198D’


52 Weeks of Self-Portrait: My Other Half

40/52 My Other Half

52 weeks of self-portraits victor

This week’s self-portrait has a guest! Victor who feels so much like an extension of me at this point it seems silly not to include him in this project for at least once photo (I guess I technically did in one of October’s self-portraits but this one he is actually awake for).  I’m not very good, at least not anymore about capturing photos of us together. I remember for our first anniversary I put together a little photo book of portraits of us together and then again on our 2nd anniversary and realized how smaller it was the 2nd time. The 3rd year I just gave up as there were so few photos to choose from and decided not to do it. Still haven’t either (probably should do that for the last 3 years even if they are half the size of the first two books). The books were so good as well to see what we did in the year because there are all types of memories stored in them, whether it was what we wore for Halloween, parties with friends, or discovering a new city together. It’s strange how shared experiences go such a long way to forming bonds and making relationships even stronger. We’ve been by each other’s side for 5 years straight, and lived together for almost all 5 years too. Beside a week trip to Toronto, a few days here and there road tripping with Zara and a trip to Vancouver (which he joined me on after a week) we’ve almost never been apart since we meet on New Year’s 5 years ago. Two peas in a pod. So since it was our anniversary this week I wanted to share a photo of us. Taken today after a hell of an ice storm just standing in our backyard in our comfy H&M pants no need for anything more….