PetaPixel

How a 365 Project Changed My Life

marius1

Just over a year ago, photography was my most precious hobby. I really enjoyed it and took photos fairly often, but I felt that if I wanted to take this thing to the next level, I had to do something extraordinary. A couple of days before New Year’s Eve I decided to start a “365 days 365 photos” project like so many other photographers before me. It felt like a great idea, and so I just went for it. What could possibly happen?

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I signed up for Flickr on January 1st 2013. I wanted to have some sort of diary of the process, and the chance to maybe build an audience. I will never forget the moment when I got my first favorite, and then my first comment. It was amazing to see that there were others out there that seemed to like what I was seeing, feeling and capturing.

Still, as the days and weeks passed by, I still wasn’t too sure about what I wanted to shoot. As you can see, my first uploads don’t really have a common theme or idea. It was great that way, but after a while I lacked the fuel that kept my machine running. I didn’t really have a driving force behind my work.

Marius Vieth Street Photography The Day Everything Changed

After a couple of weeks, I began focusing more and more on street photography. What made me feel really insecure in the first 1-2 months was the fact that my street photography was in a way different compared to the rest of the street photography community. I had a picture in my mind’s eye of the typical street shots — black and white with lots of things going on in them — and I just couldn’t make those happen. I tried and tried and eventually began giving in to the idea that maybe this whole photography thing wasn’t meant for me. I knew I had something in me, but I just couldn’t really set if free.

Eventually I reached my breaking point and said, “You know what Marius, this is your project and life and you can do whatever you think is right! Most people don’t care for your project anyways…”. With this attitude in mind, I began trying to put my personal stamp on my street photography. It felt amazing to take photos the way I felt them, without thinking in terms of genres and rules. I felt as though I had broken my chains for the first time.

Marius Vieth Street Photography Urban Lights

“Urban Lights,” (above) which I took on the 39th day of the project, changed everything. As a huge fan of Reddit, I submitted the photo to the Reddit & WideAngle Photo contest just for the fun of it. I’ll never forget the moment when they told me that I won 1st prize in this contest packed full of amazing contestants. I was in tears. This project meant and still means the world to me.

This was one of the first moments where I realized that maybe my photography might be better than I thought. Although awards don’t really mean anything to me, it felt amazing to know that even judges liked what I was doing. Over the course of the project, I won 10 more awards around the world and made it to 6 shortlists. These awards made me happy, but they didn’t compare to the first time someone told me that they started out with photography because of me… that I was their inspiration. This still puts a smile on my face that no award or prize money could ever give me. I really don’t care for money, I care for people.

Marius Vieth Street Photography Rain Dance

Slowly, everything began changed. At first my daily photo walks were a nice change of scenery after sitting in the office for 9-10 hours a day as a market researcher for an international media agency. However, after 5-6 months, I felt that photography had become more important to me than my actual job. I used every free minute I had to take new shots and spent my nights post-processing until 2AM.

All of a sudden the job that I got straight out of college and that I in fact went to college for (communication science, psychology and marketing) was the change of scenery for me. My heart and soul were committed to my photography. It wasn’t a hobby anymore, and it wasn’t just a passion of mine — it was my life.

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It wasn’t until South Korea that I truly realized this. I took three weeks off to discover this wonderful country and get some shooting done. Walking down the streets of Seoul got me thinking, “How amazing would it be to just travel around the world and take photos?” This would be a dream of a life. People over there asked me what I do for a living. I couldn’t tell them that I was a market researcher, since I didn’t feel like I was doing that anymore. I was doing market research for a living, but I was living for photography. So I always told them that I was a photographer, and it felt right. Truly right.

Marius Vieth Street Photography The Forbidden Gate

When I got back from Korea and back to my everyday life, we had a new CEO that wanted to talk to everyone since he was new to the office. He sat down with me and at the end of our conversation asked how long I was planning to stay since fluctuation had become a huge problem. I told him “Look, I could tell you anything right now, but I’m gonna be honest with you. I want to live my dream and I’m gonna leave soon.”

This was really hard but liberating to say. It was a huuuuge step for me. I felt somehow both miserable and relieved for days after that. I told my other supervisors one hour after that talk and handed in my notice one week later. It takes 4 month to get out of my job, so I’m officially going to be free to live my dream starting in March.

The truth is, my old job might pay well and offer me a high standard of living, but that’s not what I want in life. I don’t care for money, nor do I care for materialistic happiness. True happiness can’t be bought. It’s the simple things in life, like breathing the air, looking at the stars, eating good food, laughing and sharing moments with wonderful people. That’s why I love life and art.

Marius Vieth Street Photography Retina

I always dreamed of this kind of life. Quite a few galleries in Germany are interested in my work, and together with an international art dealer and my own shop I will start to sell my art soon. It’s a dream come and still coming true! It demands hard work and perseverance, but hey, let’s make the impossible possible.

Mark Twain once said that “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” This project showed me that I want to live as an artist. I want to thank everyone who was and still is a part of this journey from the bottom of my heart. I couldn’t have done it without you.

Marius Vieth Street Photography 1001 Shoes

Marius Vieth Street Photography Abducted

Marius Vieth Street Photography Cloudburst

Marius Vieth Street Photography Destination Unknown

Marius Vieth Street Photography I'm On My Way

Marius Vieth Street Photography Neon City

Marius Vieth Street Photography One of Those Days

Marius Vieth Street Photography Parallel Universe

Marius Vieth Street Photography Rainy Days

Marius Vieth Street Photography Ribbon

Marius Vieth Street Photography Seoul City Girls

Marius Vieth Street Photography Steamin' Hot

Marius Vieth Street Photography The Bridge We Never Crossed

Marius Vieth Street Photography Time Is Running Out

Marius Vieth Street Photography Well....Okay

Marius Vieth Street Photography Worm's Eye


About the author: Marius Vieth is an artist from Düsseldorf, Germany. One year ago he started a 365 days project that turned his life around. After quitting his safe 9 to 5 job he now dedicates his life to creating art, traveling around the world and meeting other passionate photographers. You can join him on the road less travelled by on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Google Plus, 500px and his website. This article originally appeared here.


 
  • Marius Vieth

    You can Ann! Go out there and make your photography happen! I believe in you!!

  • Marius Vieth

    Thank you so much Dina! I wish you an awesome day!!

  • Marius Vieth

    Hey Aleksandra! So great that you followed your passion!! Sometimes all it takes is a leap of faith, perseverance and the will to make the impossible possible!

  • Marius Vieth

    Hey Naveen! Thank you very much. I will give it my all! Wish you all the best!!

  • Marius Vieth

    Hey Jake! I really do care for people that’s why I follow everyone back on FlickR and always try to make the time to respond to everyone. It’s not getting easier but it really matters to me. Again, thanks for your kind words and I wish you all the best!!

  • Marius Vieth

    Hey Mario buddy! Thank you so much for the awesome words. Makes me really happy! I think it’s all about passion and creativity and every city in the world is your playground. I bow before you for going down the 365 road. I wish you all the best with all the highs and lows of such a project. It will be amazing!!

  • Marius Vieth

    Hey Rabi,

    who cares if you made if halfway through or all the way. You grew with the project and it helped you become a serious photographer. That’s awesome!! Wish you all the best!

  • Marius Vieth

    I wish you all the best for your project Morgan! Go get ‘em!!

  • Marius Vieth

    Hey Stefan, thank you very much!! I’m working as a freelance event and documentary photographer and sell my art and organize galeries. It’s hard at first but it’s getting there :) My true passion is my art and that will also be the center of my universe :)

  • Marius Vieth

    You will Irah! You will! I believe in you!

  • Marius Vieth

    Thank you Paulius :)

  • Marius Vieth

    You’re most welcome Magdalina!!

  • Marius Vieth

    That makes me so happy to hear that Dawn! I wish you all the best!!

  • Marius Vieth

    So happy to hear that Dhaval! Have an awesome day

  • Marius Vieth

    Great to hear that GrarVDB! Thank you very much. Wish you all the best!!

  • Marius Vieth

    Hey Robbie,

    Thank you very much! Makes me so happy to have inspired you! Keep up the good work and make that happen!

    With kind regards,

    Marius

  • Marius Vieth

    Hey Thunderbird,

    amazing word you found there! “Humany secluded”! I will give it my all and wish you all the best!

  • Marius Vieth

    Hey Sal! Glad you share my opinion. It’s okay to live a modest life as long as you got what you love. That’s all that matters! :)

  • David C

    Superb article and great work – highly inspirational I agree. I really like your approach, especially for street shots, and it’s so refreshing to see street that isn’t just “moody” B&W that’s vomited out of silver efex pro! Really great article, absolutely great start to the day.

    If you don’t mind, and I know it’s not the be-all-end-all, what kit were you using? I’m looking at getting new kit and want to get something suited to street – I’d be very interested in your thoughts on that!

    Thanks again, thoroughly enjoyed it.

  • Naveen Kumar

    thx Marius Vieth, jst liked ur fb page, will support you there, u deserve more than this mann!!

  • Álvaro

    Different and inspiring , Well done

  • http://handyandypandy.com/ Handy Andy Pandy

    Kelby’s probably right in a couple of instances, wrong in most instances though. My photography has come leaps and bounds and I’m only 130 days in; I’ve learned a million Photoshop tricks and techniques, I’m going for bigger and bolder concepts each day (some days the photo will take me 6 or 7 hours) and I feel like photography has become part of me (whereas before it was just a playful hobby).

    For every 1 person who says not to do a 365, there will probably be 100 who will tell you how much it’s changed their life for the better (as in the article above).

  • Marius Vieth

    Hey David,

    thank you very much for the kind words! I have a one lens philosophy to avoid paralysis through analysis and just focus on the moments. I’ve used a 50mm 1.4 on a 5D Mark II for the first 200 days (around that) and then a 35mm 2.0 since it helped me develop my style. It’s all about what you feel and see, not the lens and gear :) Wish you all the best!

  • Marius Vieth

    Hey Alvaro,

    thank you very much!!

  • David C

    I totally agree about the gear, and for what it’s worth I already own/planning to purchase the same anyway. In no way did I want to sound like the gear was a big factor, I myself think that people get too hung up on it :) It was just curiosity :)

    Thanks again!

  • HueNueHue

    Hey, I think I know some of your work from reddit, I was always a fan of it :)

  • Marius Vieth

    Hey HueNueHue, thank you very much! Makes me happy to hear that!!

  • Anne Hutson

    Marius, I have a question: A lot of your beautiful pictures are taken while it’s raining … how do you keep you camera (and yourself) dry and safe from the elements? Gorgeous pictures!

  • Marius Vieth

    Hey Anne,

    it’s called not giving a crap hoping that the 5D Mark holds up to its (slight) waterproof promise hahah I always try to stand in fron of a shop or something else that keeps me dry. I never really cared, because I wanted those moments. But for the future I will buy some sort of protection. Don’t wanna push my luck hahha Again, thank you very much for your kind words!!

  • Rex Maximilian

    Great shots Marius! I remember seeing your snow photo. Congratulations.

    Regarding the “weather” proofing of the 5D bodies with L lenses:

    I was in Cambodia this past summer to photograph Angkor Wat. While out in the open at Angkor Thom a downpour came out of nowhere. I had to take shelter under a tree that really didn’t offer much protection for about 20 minutes. Water was streaming down my body onto the cameras. I had two 5D Mark IIIs around my neck. One with a 24-70mm L f/2.8 and the other with a 70-200mm L f/2.8 with a 2x teleconverter. Both lenses had a polarizer on their end, so all equipment was “weather” proof… except for one very important oversight on my part–one of my bodies had a battery grip installed. This actually makes your battery compartment vulnerable to water in extreme situations; of which I was in. When I tried using that camera, it didn’t work. I was sweating bullets. I continued using my other camera to finish photos at the Bayon Temple. Later that night in the hotel room, I opened the camera and lenses completely up and blew them dry with a blowdryer and let them set out overnight… in the morning, it worked again!

    Close call. So, if you have a battery grip, leave it off your camera if you suspect rain is in the forecast!

  • Seb

    Well of course if you quit your job and have the money for it then why not, however for some it’s not so simple to quit their job and do a 365 days project. Anyway good work.

  • Sky

    That’s… a lot of rain and fog! ;)

  • Marius Vieth

    Hey Seb, I did my 365 days project after working 10 hours a day in a cubicle :) Wish you all the best!

  • Marius Vieth

    “In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.” Albert Camus :)

  • Paulo

    I love the photos, and your kind of street photography, it’s different from the other..after reading this, im planning to start my own 365 project too..your an inspiration. thank you for sharing these. keep it up and enjoy shooting :)

  • Marius Vieth

    Hey Paulo, thanks buddy! Makes me really happy to hear that! Go for it :) It’s gonna be awesome!

  • Harold Elixson

    I have been following you on Flikr for a while. I always love your work. It is very different from what most other street photographers. Excellent choice to follow your dream! I am very happy for you that your photography is being recognized for the art that it is!!! Congratulations, and keep up the fantastic work!!

  • Joey Miller

    Your comment goes along with my current thinking. I recently read an article about the “myth of the 10,000 hours”, the idea that all it takes is 10,000 hours to become a master of something. The reality is much more nuanced. You can repeat the same task over and over for that long, but if you aren’t constantly trying to improve, you’re just getting really good at doing that task at the same level as when you started. A 365 can be just like that, where every day you just go out and force yourself to take one crappy little picture just to fulfill the project. I started my own 365 this year, a send off to my favorite now discontinued film, Fuji FP-3000B. I’ve tried these things before and always fell short, got bored, abandoned them. This time I’ve imposed enough limits on myself that I have to work hard on every image. 22 days in, and I’m stressed, but I love it. Analyzing, adjusting, and thinking about every image in an effort to improve the next is doing wonders for my work, and with things like Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, and Facebook to put my work out there at the touch of a button, I have an instant feedback loop. It’s all about how you do it, not simply that you’re doing it. If you start a 365 with the right mentality, it can certainly elevate your art.

  • daniella guzzo

    Beautiful! I especially love your new outlook on life! good luck with everything and i wish loads of success

  • Charly

    Thank you for this. One day, I’d like to break free of the 9-5 job and follow my hobby.

  • Dirk van der Vaart

    It sure rains a lot in Düsseldorf ;-) Awesome story, inspiring!

  • Nitin

    Excellent one!! Great work! Good Luck!

  • Syuaip

    Awesome pictures! I just followed you on Flickr now..
    Success for you, Sir!

  • Marius Vieth

    Hey Harold,

    thank you so much for your kind words! I will give it my all :))

  • Marius Vieth

    Thank you Daniella! Means so much to me!

  • Marius Vieth

    Hey Charly! You will, just keep walking and the journey of a thousand miles will be the best you ever had :)

  • Marius Vieth

    Hey Dirk, yes it does hahah but to be honest as soon as it starts raining I get out :D

  • Marius Vieth

    Hey Nitin, thank you very much!

  • Marius Vieth

    Hey Syuaip,

    thank you very much :) Happy to have you by my side!

    Kind regards,

    Marius

  • Robbie Khan

    Thanks Marius!