Six Years of Daily Self Portraits… With the Lens Cap On

Here’s a photo project so profound that it might make you weep (you might also cry for other reasons). Artist Will Vincent has a project titled “Two Thousand, One Hundred and Ninety One.” His artist statement is a single sentence: “Every day for six years I took a photo of myself with the lense cap on.”

Here’s a selection of some of the better photographs in the series:

So basically, Vincent is like Noah Kalina meets John Cage.

Photographer Noah Kalina’s Everyday project features a single self-portrait taken every day for the past 12 years.

American composer and music theorist John Cage is most famous for his 1952 piece, 4′33″. Here’s a performance of that piece (this video has nearly 3 million views on YouTube, and plenty of “dislikes.”):

Vincent has some other things to say about Two Thousand, One Hundred and Ninety One:

An extended visual musing on: The fleetingness of existence. The sheer futility of human endeavour. The extent to which internet meme culture pervades modern life. Being a forgetful bastard.

Making: One camera, one tripod, one man.

Thankfully, all the “photographs” on Vincent’s website are copies of a single GIF image, meaning this isn’t a project he literally carried out. That would have been… depressing.

Two Thousand, One Hundred and Ninety One [Will Vincent via Fstoppers]

Update: Wikipedia has an entire list of songs that consist mostly or entirely of silence.

Image credits: Photographs by Will Vincent

  • michaelp42

    Seriously? You give this “artist” publicity because?

  • Richard

    “Thankfully, all the “photographs” on Vincent’s website are copies of a single GIF image, meaning this isn’t a project he literally carried out. That would have been… depressing.

    i disagree – that would have been good.

  • SpaceMan

    Yes but look at the sharpness, no vigneting at all, and fidelity of blacks & shadows. Maybe if he shot d800, he could have lifted the shadows and seen the dust on his lens cap

  • bob cooley

    This is the artistic equivalent of t-shirt philosophy. its a cute joke, but doesn’t really deserve any real attention.

  • alex

    this is just stupid

  • Pablo Ricasso

    I’m sorry but idiocy of a jobless git is hardly something that should be written about, especially not on webosites like Peta Pixel.

  • Dee

    i dont know about all of you, but the 3rd photo is outstanding

  • George Zunza

    Attention seeking at its lowest…and sadly this bozo succeded.
    What’s next, a mindless blogging about a switched-off toaster that doesn’t toast the bread?

  • Muris Halilović

    Some people just don’t get it…go back to your fuckin instacrap

  • Chris Gaffan

    your sense of humour is truly unprecedented

  • Adam Bond

    Nailed it with the Cage reference.

  • lidocaineus

    Everyone who’s bitching seriously lacks a sense of humor. One of his “musings” he posted on his site about the project? “Being a forgetful bastard.” You might not like it or think the humor is juvenile, but it clearly worked as it got a few of you talking, and isn’t that what all art’s about, serious or not?

  • Daniel Austin Hoherd

    Speaking only for myself, I too am outstanding.

  • Daniel Austin Hoherd

    I think you’re giving petapixel too much credit.

  • cecinestpasunepipe

    OK, so I don’t know art when I see it. It’s art because the artist says it’s art?
    So which is it? His artist statement, “Every day for six years I took a photo of myself with the lense cap on.” Then it’s revealed that it is copies of a single GIF image. Now, I don’t pretend to understand most artist statements-but, if a fella says he spent six years-I expect that to be the truth.

  • phototodo

    Nikon or Canon?

  • Wallerus

    I should comment b/c I have nothing better to do. Of course, if you added some Rick Eisley I would’ve laughed even more. :)

  • Dan Howard

    I really wish I could get the same level of recognition for all the work that I ACTUALLY do…

    I’m sure there are many people who read that that feel the same.

    How about PetaPixel gives back to their fans and showcases one member of the petapixel community a week.

  • jake

    give us the exif-infos with and i will think about this as art; otherwise its not even a joke

  • ed g.

    Oh, excellent. I believe Mr. Vincent has won the Internets. All of ‘em.

    I don’t think we need any more portrait-a-day projects now.

  • Swade

    Cage’s is an actually project where an orchestra is silent. Saying he took a picture every day for six years, but actually just used one image a couple thousand times is utterly different.

  • teamdave™

    this Will Vincent guy should really start doing portraits of famous people, if they were the same quality of these ones he could really charge a very high price for them too

  • Carlos Garcia

    this. Exactly this.

    It is as if Cage would have said: Hey imagine an orchestra completely silent for 4’33” but never actually performed it.

  • lidocaineus

    Not really. The whole thing smacks of being tongue-in-cheek, as evidenced by his musings, and the fact that he did nothing at all to hide that fact.

  • lidocaineus

    I have a feeling a lot of you are not fans of meta-anything. I mean a lot of you are tackling it from all sorts of angles and missing the point. Example:”he didn’t really shoot it for six years”. Ok, so what does that say about the people that DO shoot these things for years? What’s the commentary on repeating the same image over and over and claiming (totally tongue in cheek) that it was six years of work for… this? Have you stopped and thought the whole point of this IS to make you angry or annoyed? Do you really think he didn’t anticipate that?

    He’s clearly not serious. But on the other hand, he kind of is – and seen in that vein, the reactions are part of the work. In my opinion it’s meh (these type of things have been done to death before), but it is what it is. Everyone complaining about how this is getting publicized and they’re not is pretty much missing the point / sounds ridiculous.

  • 43243434

    nikon shooter?

  • Ralf Gunther

    Certainly not a number-challenged Canon shooter…

  • satujamsaja

    completely joke

  • Ralph Hightower

    I hope he wasn’t shooting film.

  • Kamo Photos

    Oh I get it, the deep black represents the recognition that death is forever close by and that age really makes no difference upon our existence in the cosmos.

  • Samuel

    Doing this is a bit lame at best. Not even doing it is just irritating.

  • Albi Kl

    Haha, I see what you did there

  • lidocaineus

    That’s not comparable; This whole thing is practically a commentary ON Cage’s 4’33”.

  • Lens

    “Lense”? :(

  • Danielle Skodak

    The fact that he didn’t actually carry this out makes it pointless for art as a whole, but if it makes him money or gets him recognized why not?

  • dm

    This is why I don’t ever use lens caps. How embarrassing :(

  • Samcornwell

    Hey Kamo, how much do you charge for writing artist statements? ;)

  • Eziz

    Whoaa, how did he autofocus with the lens cap on? :)))

  • Gary Martin

    Idiot..I’m sure he’ll make millions because some dope will think its cool

  • Joe Gunawan

    I think you got image #5 and #6 reversed. It’s pretty apparent, lol =P

  • Mark Wheadon


  • The_photographer_Tom

    You can get your own at the artybollocks generator.

  • Steve

    Would of been better for me if he had accidentally taken the lens cap off on one of them, or if he has used film and some frames were ruined during processing.

  • Jake

    I like # 4.

  • Craig Dickson

    Not really, because taking a photo with the lens cap on is not taking a picture at all. 4’33” encourages the audience to consider the ambience of the concert hall, and the incidental noises that occur in it, as music; it’s not about “silence” in the sense of a complete absence of sound. But in a photo taken with the lens cap on, there is nothing to substitute for the conventional notion of a “subject” or “scene”. You don’t even need a camera — you could just load up Windows Paint and save an all-black image.

  • Craig Dickson

    Hey, come on. PetaPixel posts about all sorts of meaningless, random crap. This fits in just fine. Seriously, just think how great a site this could be if only the editors had any ability to distinguish between garbage and stuff that actually matters.

  • Craig Dickson

    But Cage wasn’t being tongue-in-cheek.

  • Craig Dickson

    I know, I hate that too, but the internet is so full of illiterates that it’s pointless to carp about it anymore. You just get called a Nazi, as if asking people to use language in an at least semi-competent manner, and to care about using it properly, were somehow equivalent to murdering six million people.

  • gfink2

    Stupid projects, volumes 1 and 2! This and the Cage piece.

  • VeronicaGuzzardi

    I don’t know about that- a photo taken with the lens cap on will have a fair amount of noise in the black. I think there would have been a big difference between this project actually executed, and this project set up as a joke, which is what it appears to be. Either way, there’s a lot of talking here in the comments about art and context, which is lovely!