There are moments when everything changes. When time can be marked by what came before, and what came after. In history, these moments fill textbooks, events like D-Day and 9–11. In our personal lives these moments are marked by births, marriages, deaths, and so forth. Most of our lives are spent in between these moments, on days so remarkably unremarkable. These are the days and moments I treasure. Enjoying a sunset, sharing a dinner with friends, playing with my kids on a summer evening.
In the summer of 2020, I set the goal of taking one photograph a day at the same time for one year. My objective was to pinpoint the specific day when darkness engulfed summer’s fading light, and the day when light began to finally emerge from winter’s darkness. This project was something I wanted to do for some time, and the pandemic provided the perfect opportunity. As the world seemed to be out of balance in 2020, I came to view the sun’s daily march across the sky as a reliable constant. Each day, the sun rose in the east and set in the west. The symmetry of this eternal cycle put the trial and tribulations of that year into a broader perspective.
I started to take the photographs at 8pm each night. However, as the year progressed, I adjusted my nightly ritual based upon the night sky, moving from 8pm to 7pm to 6pm, and finally, 5pm. As darkness consumed an hour, I would move to the next. When winter’s darkness began to slowly recede, I reversed the pattern. Apart from a few days, after a year, I had managed to achieve my initial objective of taking one photograph per day.
Once completed, and the photographs were compiled into a single canvas, time seemingly had become defined. A year’s worth of photographs looked remarkably insignificant when sorted into twenty-seven rows and fourteen columns. Staring at the collective group of photos it was hard to comprehend that every baby born, every death, every heartbreak, and every moment of happiness which occurred during the year, happened within the photos on the canvas.
The photographs alone have little significance or discernable relevance. Most of the photographs consisted of landscapes, which provide little clue as to when they were taken. Everyday could have been any day. Only once the photographs were dated, and an event added from each day, did the photos seem to take on fresh meaning. The photos serve as a reminder that nature is an oblivious bystander to human history. Ultimately, it is up to each of us to determine how we choose to mark time.
This year, with the help of a time lapse camera, I am photographing every hour of the year from one location. Together, this kaleidoscope of photographs aims to visualize not just a literal year, but to capture the small moments of transition throughout the year that otherwise go unnoticed.
So far, the photographs are largely what one would expect to see. Snow in the winter, flowers in the spring, lush trees in the summer, which are giving way to autumn leaves. There is much beauty in nature’s rhythmic dance around the sun, and this project seeks to capture it.