chesterr PRO 4:56am, 19 March 2013
As my contacts know, in my normal life I'm a press journalist (well, no one is actually a press journalist, given the online world, but I write for newspapers and websites).
I've written before about the fun of a 365, and have shared those articles. Last weekend, I wrote a magazine piece about the "flickr flock" I'm in - basically, the flickr contacts I have and the experience of sharing a 365 with them.

To be honest, I have a little hesitation in sharing this, because I don't want to upset anyone not mentioned (well, I don't want to upset anyone mentioned either I guess). I've tried to sum up the experience of sharing a 365 with people around the world, and have referred to people who have done this 365 with me or the one back in 2011. But I don't refer to all my contacts. For instance, I've got a couple of Australian contacts (such as Jess and Deb) who have been with me almost since day one of 365:2011 and yet I don't mention Australian contacts. Some of you get a mention by flickr name, some of you get a mention by real name (one of you gets his real name used because it is such a cool name - let's just say he sounds like he could be an opera singer but flies a plane better than Pavarotti). Some of you are mentioned by no name at all - but you'll know who I mean if you know those people on flickr.

I asked a bunch of contacts if they were willing to let us publish one or more of their photos with their piece. Everyone I asked said yes and I'm very grateful for that. Unfortunately, not everyone's pictures were published. I must say I didn't lay out the article and choose what images were run. I'm really pleased for the people whose images were published - I wish everyone's images were run.

In the piece, I wanted to express what it's like for me to do a 365 with people around the world. There's an Australian movie called The Castle, where a bumbling lawyer attempts to explain how the plan for an airport to knock down a bloke's house is unconstitutional. Given the lawyer doesn't know the law, he explains how it clashes with the fine print of our nation's constitution with this: "It's the vibe of the thing, your Honour". So, I'm a bumbling journalist writing about my flickr flock experience. It's the vibe of the thing.

Oh, if anyone wants a pdf, just email me at
And I'll be sending out snailmailed copies to those whose pictures are in it (and anyone else who wants one really). So, I've got address for SlackPacket, Spicyspiral and Rasmus and their copies are in the mail. The other people whose photos are published are Harpazo_Hope and GM74 (him of the cool name). If anyone else wants a snailmail copy, let me know.

Okay, here's the piece (magazine pieces often don't go online so I can't just post a link.

The subs have tweaked it a little. For instance, they inserted the word Italian into it (not sure why, but there you go). It was also longer. in fact it's only now in posting this I notice some guys I mentioned have been cut out - that's no reflection on them but there is limited space in a magazine. Ian, you were in there with a description of your macros - but I just realise now you've been left on the editing floor. My apologies for that. You weren't the only one

As with all published stories, it is what it is. I hope you guys somehow relate to it - and I apologise in advance if I've offended anyone by omission or in other ways. I don't think so, but it's easier to write about strangers than to write about your mates. I often write columns about family life - but always show it to my wife to get the nod of approval first. You guys weren't so lucky.

My apologies, also, for the long post.

QWeekend, Edition 1 SAT 16 MAR 2013, Page 033

By: Rod Chester


Being part of a Flickr flock provides you with a peek into other people’s worlds, 365 days a year.

MOST OF US HAVE A HOBBY. SOME OF US have an obsession. If my life were a Venn diagram, my 365 Project would be the area where hobby and obsession overlap.
Back in 2011, I set out to reignite my passion for photography by taking a photo every day of the year, hence the name of the project, a concept that has blossomed online over the past few years.
Connecting through social media is not new - many of us do it. We’re Facebook friends, Twitter tweeps, or, if you’re like me, part of a Flickr flock. Flickr, in theory, isn’t about making mates. It’s about sharing photos, and looking at those shared by others. Flickr is a place where you exchange pleasant platitudes: "Lovely DOF [depth of field]", "great capture" or "beautiful bokeh [those blurry circles of light and colour you can see in a photo with depth of field]".
In starting a 365, you join a Flickr flock, upload your pic of the day and sit back and wait for people to pitch in with pleasantries. "Great image," you say when you see a great image. At first, it’s polite conversation; the kind you might make in a lift.
But, to take the lift analogy and milk it for all it’s worth, imagine catching that same ride to the top floor with the same people, day after day. You move on from a grunted "morning" to "so, where do you really want to be in life?" somewhere on the way.
In 2011, a group of us formed a gang. It wasn’t that we wanted to exclude others; it was only that we wanted to join in. In my gang, in that year, my daily ritual included looking at the photos of Rasmus Hald, skipper of a Norwegian fishing vessel.
Mostly, those pics involved waves. And fish. And seabirds. For much of the year, it involved darkness.
There was a woman who worked and lived down the road from Disneyland, and would duck up to the world’s most famous playground for an image that echoed the wonders of the Walt. There was a mum from Michigan who had the joy of recording the adventures of her young daughter, and the courage to show her sadness when she suffered another miscarriage. That’s the thing about a picture a day. Some days are good, some days are not.
On most days of the past two years, I’ve looked at the photos of my mate Perry in Canada, who likes recording the beauty of his countryside, the playfulness of his poodle, and the things that make up his daily life. But the photos I remember are from his first 365, when his mother lay dying in hospital. One photo showed his mother’s bed and his wife lying in vigil beside. The next day’s photo showed the vigil was over. The shots were taken with dignity and are full of emotion. For Perry, the photos were part of dealing with his grief. His mum was going and it was a very bad day - that’s what had to be recorded in the picture to mark it.
We also have our wonderfully quirky British woman who often makes her daily pictures a strange little adventure. One day, there was the cactus that "SpicySpiral" somehow obtained. The next day, there was a picture of her fingers, each with a Band-Aid on the end. Cactuses, it turns out, don’t like to be taken prisoner.
A year, it turns out, is a very long time - and after a year to recover, the gang are all back together doing it one more time. Well, most of the gang. The fisherman is back fishing. The mum from Michigan has had another miscarriage and needs more time.
Our marathon-running mate from San Francisco has chosen another distance - he’s opted to do a picture a week rather than the daily slog. Even marathon runners need to pace themselves. But a bunch of us are back, sharing our lives together day by day.
There’s an Italian pilot, Giovanni Martorella, in Canada who frequently takes his picture of the day out of the window of the cockpit, showing the beauty of the world below. There’s our mate with all the ideas, a great family man who lives in Las Vegas and is prone to dressing up as Iron Man for the sake of his art. There’s our queen of black-and-white, who somehow turns everyday objects into beautiful images.
And there’s our mate Matt in the north of England. His first 365 started off as a way of dealing with anxiety. This 365 is about discovery and detailing the beauty of the landscape where he lives.
Each lunchtime, he slips out of the music store where he works, dons the wellies and goes off for an adventure that usually involves nearly sliding over in a bog. His adventures are like one of those BBC shows about a bumbling Englishman, except instead of politely solving crimes or fixing animals, he takes amazing photographs.
There are others in the gang. A South African woman living in London. A Romanian interpreter who is on her third 365 in a row. A German bloke who loves to experiment with technique and film.
A Polish woman who bakes, and then snaps.
A Kansas schoolteacher who takes stunning photos of her daughters as they grow from gangly teens into confident young women.
Some of us share insights into our life outside of Flickr. Those insights are not always easy to share. There is the American who is sharing each day of her life as she did last year, including the day her sister was killed by a hit-and-run driver.
One day, last June, she shared a picture taken underwater of her and her sister swimming in a river, grinning like kids. A few weeks later, her picture of the day was of the footpath shrine of flowers at the spot where Claire had died.
There’s this guy in the gang called Slackpacket.
He’s a genius, with Photoshop his brand of magic.
Most of us take pictures. He creates art, with the freaky factor often on full. Some days, he moans about the boredom of a 365. Other days, he presents an image of himself in a gas mask with the world exploding around him. That’s the thing with a 365.
You never know where the next shot is coming from.
It’s a great day when you take a picture you’re proud of. It’s a crap day when you take more. You can only post one picture a day, so anything else just makes your choices harder. On the good days, the gang will acknowledge your skill. On the bad days, we share the pain. So, it’s a shot of a flower on your driveway. It’s a nice flower. It might even be a nice driveway. Yep, that’s a sunset.
But, hey, it’s the best sunset you saw that day.
The gang is inclusive. You just need to commit, both to the project and the group. And there is a code. We have good days and we have bad days. Then there are days when all we have is socks. You can always find something in a day to take pictures of. Almost always. Sometimes it’s a struggle. "Here’s a picture of my lunch. At least it’s not socks." Taking a picture of socks is the last resort. Most of us have taken pictures of socks.
Our gang can’t predict what’s to come; we all just record it one day at a time. The only thing our gang is missing is a name. Maybe we should go with the obvious. We’re the 365ers. Socks optional
edenmatt Posted 6 years ago. Edited by edenmatt (member) 6 years ago
Brilliant Rod. You are skilled with the iPhone, highly skilled. But when you read through this you can see clearly why you do what you do. It is difficult to be objective as I know who all the people are, making the personal stories more powerful than they would be for the average reader. However, those stories do come through loud and clear and for a non 365er, this is still going to blow their optional socks off.

I can see why you would post with some trepidation. Sometimes when I am behind with comments and have a few minutes spare, I worry about posting a comment on a few photostreams in case others see those comments and think 'well, he commented on his photo but not on mine'. I'm being silly, and I am sure you are too - there's nothing to worry about! Its just in this instance I'm being silly in an Ian Macro sense and you're being silly in one of my panoramas. I am glad I cleared that up (makes NO sense).

Great read and really hammers home the feeling in the group, the cameraderie and the shared experience. For me, the other day I mentioned feeling better with my anxiety and Neil popped up with 'I'm glad you're feeling better. We're always here if we're needed of course'. In some forms of social media I think that would have been nice, but really a platitude. With this gang, it isn't, and it means a great deal.

Good on yer Rod.
spicyspiral 6 years ago
Omg Rod I needed that!

There have been several times these past couple of weeks when I've considered dropping out as real life has taken over and I'm completely behind with my uploads and commenting. (I soooooo relate to comment about not wanting to comment on some peoples photos incase other friends of mine see them and take umbrage.)

This article is so well written, really captures the spirit of the flock and has really given me the kick I needed. What was I thinking? This is so much more (weirdly) than just posting a pic a day, I can't drop out. (Feel we should all be having a group hug at this point!)

I hereby pledge to get my uploads and comments up to date by the end of the weekend.

Just one point though Rodders........ quirky? I'm off to make a coffee and ponder whether that's a compliment or an insult :)
dull manner [deleted] 6 years ago
Absolutely love your article. It is a wonderful pice. So warm and full of "love" for the group. so full of great thoughts and passion. You are a great guy, Rod. And I am happy to have met you through flickr. Thank you
dull manner [deleted] 6 years ago

After reading the article I also feel a group hug would be great.
chesterr PRO 6 years ago

yeah, quirky. I went there :-)
smallcloughs 6 years ago
Rod, this is really wonderful. You've really captured what's surprised me about being part of the group - at the start there were so many people and I never thought or expected I'd get to know who was who, and now I've made so many new contacts and connections and feel like I'm really sharing a journey with an amazing bunch of people. Thanks for putting it into words.
Perry McKenna PRO 6 years ago
Well Rod, my friend, and I feel I can call that after everything we have shared. I feel I know you better than many of my so called local friends, you've hit a home run. (sorry for the american analogy)

I can see why you are a press journalist, as you have an incredible way with words. They just flowed, making it a real pleasure to read. Pure magic! You described so well the community we have built, the sharing, the frustrations, the joys, and the probably the most important for me, the support we offer each other. I also loved the way you described the polite initial banter to the deeper relationships we have built with the analogy of the elevator ride. Very clever and so true.

Thanks for sharing some of the other stories, makes me want to reach out to more members of the group. They are so many talented photographers with very interesting stories. As I type this, I'm thinking of doing 2014. Crazy thoughts!!
Swedish Goose PRO 6 years ago
Great read.... thanks for posting it here

I would place doing a 365 on the border between obsession and insanity and I am glad I am not alone in that place.

I wish the day had a couple of more hours that I could spend going through all uploads in the group but time is alas limited.

Anyway, I am glad to be part of this flock of 365ers...
heather_on3 PRO 6 years ago
Thank you. Now when I am fumbling along trying to tell someone why it is so important/therapeutic/enlightening etc. to post that quickly snapped iPhone shot of socks I have an article I can direct them to that says it better than I ever could.

As I said in my video, the camaraderie is more important to me than the daily photo, or even the incredible amount of learning and inspiration I take from the photos of others. My Flickr flock are counted among my true and great friends and I look forward to the comments and images every single day.

Please do not worry about who was included by name or photo (although it is not surprising given your caring nature - you are always the first one to reach out when one of the flock goes amiss and I can't tell you how amazing that is). Know this though: You have included us all in the way you articulate what this group means and the friendships you discover along the way. Thank you for saying it so perfectly.

I intend to send this to friends and family right away. Why? Because I am proud to be a card-carrying member of the flock. Wonderful article, friend.
basselal PRO 6 years ago
Excellent article. Love it!!

I wish I can write more but I'm in a meeting. but I echo all the sentements Heather mentioned above.

What?? not supposed to check Flickr in a meeting??
Jill Clardy PRO 6 years ago
Great article which really captures the essence of both the individual and group dynamics of participating in such a project. I think we each experience some trepidation when we share intimate glimpses into our lives, but your essay reassures me that there is value in doing so. I'm proud to say that, as we approach the 25% mark, I have yet to resort to a sock picture - but just in case, I have some cute socks in the drawer !
gm 74 Posted 6 years ago. Edited by gm 74 (member) 6 years ago
edenmatt: spicyspiral:
I am the same. 5 minutes to spare? 10 photos to see? Ugh, should I comment? What if that guy sees my comment on this girl's pic? Glad I'm not the only one, and from now on I will just comment and realize that everyone "gets" it.

That was a great piece Rod, really captures the essence of the common link and bond we share as photographers, 365ers and yes, friends. I really enjoy the insights into everyone's lives that we get here. It really is a great group of people.

You know, back in 2011 I thought "I'll do a 365 because I want to be a better photographer". I had like 7 contacts, mostly people I knew in real life. Well this year, I said, "I'll do a 365 because I like my Flickr friends and I want to keep in touch with them, oh, and I guess I should take a photo of some sort every day." I've got more than 7 contacts now, that's for sure.

Awesome job Rod.
AmyGStubbs 6 years ago
Thank you for posting this article. It is really interesting and sums up our daily challenges and trials wonderfully.
*ian* PRO 6 years ago
Well, I'm outraged - the cutting room floor indeed! :)

It's such a great article, really well written, and so very perceptive!

I can only echo the comments of others above and say you definitely hit the nail on the head about everything it is to be part of this flickr flock!
snapclicktripod PRO 6 years ago
Dude - you rock!!
Every time I feel that life is taking over - you'll get a couple of sock shots, and I won't feel guilty about it!
And I will come back and read this article and let it remind me why I embrace the madness of 365!
Surfchild. PRO 6 years ago
fab article, loved reading about everyone!

as a new girl to this flock, I'm staggered by the openness and support. i made some good flickr friends last year in my first 365 and now I have more.
NeilPas 6 years ago
Excellent way to portray our little virtual community Rod. It is amazing how much we know and follow each other's lives.

I can say that I had no idea what I was getting into with the original 2011 365 - it was fun, quirky then really started to evolve. You've expressed it quite well in your article.
kostolany244 PRO 6 years ago
Thanks Rod.
I didn't know I needed this today until I read it.

Oh gosh, now I'm in tears. Can anyone give me a hug?
NeilPas 6 years ago

Virtual hug....*HUG*...done...
Owen H R PRO 6 years ago
Really nice article rod! You are very skilled at writing this kind of thing!
thechiefwilson 6 years ago
Great article! I started in this group this year after nearly completing a 52 last year! The aim was to challenge myself, express myself more and hopefully learn some new skills! I've picked up a lot of new contacts along the way, everyone's creativity encourages me to continue even when i cant think of what to take a photo of (no socks yet)!
ClareC79 PRO 6 years ago
Great article Rod...I loved reading it and felt like you were referring to my friends...oh wait, you were. I love how you compared the 365 to the ride in the lift - very clever.

Now here's an idea. Wouldn't it be great if we could all meet up for a drink. I think G could organise the transport as he has access to something that flies and could fit all of us in. All he needs to do it pick up a few Canadians, Americans, people living in the UK and Europe and a couple of Australians and then we could all go to some really cool destination and chat. I think that sounds great. So when can we be expecting you Giovanni?
mfhiatt PRO 6 years ago
This explains what so many of us in this group feel but often are unable to communicate. I went into the 365 in 2011 knowing no one on Flickr and when the year was up I was at a loss as to where my next project would take me. Being invited back in 2013 came at just the right time and it's so great to share with folks I've followed a long time and new contacts that continue to amaze me with the creativity, humor, and friendship. Socks, eh? That's one I've never used but it's going in the moleskin idea notebook for the day when I just can't think of anything else. Thanks!
donlunzo16 PRO 6 years ago
Thank you for posting your great article, dear rod, i loved to read it.

Me, as one of the newest members in your 365 group, i have to say, that i met so charming people, which i never thought. It's a big pleasure for me each new day.
And i have to thank to Leopold, better known as benman31, an old schoolfriend of mine, that he advised me to join your marvellous group.
disnemma 6 years ago
Great article, Rod! You're really talented with words, the same way I aspire to be as a writer. :)

When I joined this 365 group at the beginning of the year, it was completely by chance. I typed in "356 2013" in the group search bar, clicked a random group, and then joined. I guess I didn't expect it to be like this- to meet so many wonderful people from all over the world and become part of such a great group. It's about more than photographs here. Super job expressing that.
elizah1014 6 years ago
Love the article Rod! I'm proud to be a member of the flicker Flock! :)
charmedoneX 6 years ago
I joined the group temporarily just so I could comment here too!
This article was so well written Rod - I don't think there could have been a better way to describe the flickr flock. I don't even remember how I came across Flickr and the group - maybe through some website at the start of the new year and I am so glad I did and was able to connect with the gang! It's an incredible thing to take a picture each day and learn about each person and what goes on in their lives and what makes them who they are. Really laughed at the socks part - oh so true. I think I may need to refer friends to this article when they ask about my flickr involvement and how it's possible to grow and establish a bond with people who started out as strangers. Loved this!!
Sambananaa 6 years ago
"But hey, it's the best sunset you saw that day," love. love. love. that!! :)
Fantastic article, you're a great writer. :)
Sue on a bike 6 years ago
Wonderful article! I'll have to remember about the socks. I'm so glad I committed to the group this year and I also think we have a great group of photographers with lots of personality.
emrold PRO 6 years ago
Just piling on at this point, but thanks for the great article Rod. As a new member myself, I can relate to the others who started the year with only 7 contacts and have built out a supportive community amongst the flock.

I'm so happy to have stumbled upon this group and to have been accepted.

Your article only underscores what an excellent choice we've all made being here together.

Now where are my socks?
zandrsmum 6 years ago
I vow not to take photos of socks! An inspirational piece of writing Rod that really highlights what a wonderful, varied group we are. We all have our own reasons for being here and they are all good reasons. I am just thrilled with all the amazing new friends I have met here, really all thanks to you :-)
lfstar68 6 years ago
Fantastic article! Love the part about it being "a crap day if you take more" than one good shot in a day. So true! And would only make sense to those doing a 365.
sandrahblack1 PRO 6 years ago
an inspiring article! this is the first time i've done a 365 i've not even been using flickr that long, but i feel really encouraged if i get a view or a comment..or a favourite (!). im doing this to improve my skill, i've already upgraded my camera (not up to a full blown DSLR yet) and i love looking at every else's photos. i'm so glad i decided to do this :-)
MarkFromAdelaide 6 years ago
cracking article mate!
was a great read from start to end!
and as far as socks go. . .well mine are mainly black ones! not very interesting but you never know.. push comes to shove, if you see a pair of blacks socks as one of my uploads, you can immediately tell i'm out of ideas : )

jbone66 (Jay B) 6 years ago
Like Anisha, I just joined so I could add my comments. You can give me the boot afterwards!

When I decided to do a 365 back in 2011, I would have never guessed that it would ultimately turn out like this. I used the 365 as a personal journey in improving my photography skills. I thought that my family would be the only ones looking at my photos. Just like you described, in time, various people started looking and commenting. It snowballed into something far more than I expected. Things became more intimate with many of the contacts and many of us got to know so much about each other. It is truly amazing how this bond was formed by looking at photos and conversing through comments. As you know, I almost dropped out of the Flickr for 2013. After some last minute thinking, I decided it wasn't time to pull the plug. There would be an emptiness if I just went cold turkey and stopped looking at the photos of many of the names that you mentioned in your article. I did choose the lest potent drug (the 52 week group) again but is just enough to be able to stay in the game while admiring everyones work. Anyhow, your write-up was fantastic. Even before I "knew you", I could tell that you were a class act with heart and soul.

About the 'comments' discussion in the threads, I do not take it personally if do not receive any comments. If I do happen to receive a comment, I am truly appreciative that you took the time to visit my stream and include a brief message. Like G said, I think we all "get it" Rock on Rod!
ant-o-rama PRO 6 years ago
i reckon you've captured perfectly the journey that is a 365 project, it's so much more than a photo a day and the connections made through the sharing of that journey, while virtual, are no less real, likewise the emotions that come with sharing the good and the bad, wonderfully written rod and thanks for sharing it :)
chesterr PRO 6 years ago
I just want to thank everyone for their wonderful comments on the article. I really appreciate it.
gm 74 6 years ago

Haha, only if you all chip in to pay for the gas... That stuff's spendy!
oana-emilia PRO 6 years ago
well, I finally got to read this, and I love it!
beautifully written, and perfectly capturing what the 365 means (for me at least for sure). thank you!
maylee00 6 years ago
Beautiful article Rodney! People look at me funny when I talk about my "friends" on flickr. They don't understand the bond that you can have with people that you have never met. The only reason I considered putting myself through the torture of a 365, again, was because of the gang. The life stories, the peer pressure, the personal jokes, the peer pressure, the amazing work, the peer pressure.......LOL! I love it all! Looking forward to completing another year with you and the 365ers. :)
Great article and wow, you know how to put this experience into words!
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