Well-Being is reported to be improved through the online sharing of everyday images shot by amateur photographers. To reference it, it is known as “Project365” in photo circles; it begs the question: how can your life be changed by a Project365?
A precious hobby, such as photography, can be measured in days, months, or years. Something extraordinary is required to take the Project365 to the next level, especially for people who enjoy to take photos often. Like many other photographers before him, by his own admission, Marius Vieth started a project: 365 photos in 365 days, a couple of days before New Year’s Eve way back in 2013. 5 years later, he reminisces: what could possibly happen if I just went for it, following that great idea?
Way To Go
On January 1st, 2013, Marius Vieth signed up for photo-sharing website Flickr. Proof that anyone can do it! “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,” he says.
“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,” he says.
Street photography became more and more of a focus for Vieth as the weeks went by. Concerned with the street photography community it was hard not for him to compare the differences to other street photographers; “I felt really insecure in the first 1 – 2 months,” he says. “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.” A sense of freedom was something that Vieth sensed he had in him, but, maybe this whole photography thing wasn’t for him, he thought, after toil and toil.
Yet, after all the toil Marius decided to break the chains for the first time through the process of not thinking in terms of genres and rules, taking photos the way he felt them happen, and feeling amazing putting his own personal stamp on his street photography. It all began with that attitude in mind. Yet, it only came after realizing that he had reached his breaking point and said to himself: “You know what Marius, this is your project and life and you can do whatever you think is right!”
The moment that changed everything for him was on the 39th day of the project when he took a photo that he titled “Urban Lights.” Just for the fun of it I entered a contest for wide-angle photos, submitting it to Reddit – “I’ve always been a huge fan of Reddit,” he notes. Packed full of amazing contestants Vieth managed to win 1st prize a moment he says he’ll never forget. “I was in tears. This project meant and still means the world to me,” he says.
At this point, he realized that maybe his photography might be better than he 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,” he says.
Making it a Passion
Change began to affect everything, albeit slowly, from that moment on. Working for an international media agency as a market researcher Vieth would be sat in the office for 9 – 10 hours per day so the change of scenery that his daily photo walks provided were a welcome break and a fountain of inspiration. Even so, his job was beginning to take a back seat to his photography which he stresses was becoming more and more important to him. “I used every free minute I had to take new shots and spent my nights post-processing until 2AM,” he says.
Vieth had to reconcile his photography passion with the job that he had gone to university for. He felt that his heart and soul were committed to photography and that it wasn’t just a hobby anymore – it was his life.
He truly realized this when he traveled to South Korea. He had decided to get some serious shooting done in what he describes as a wonderful country after taking three weeks off work to discover it and practice his photography.
“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,” he says.
Leaving Behind The 9 – 5
A new CEO had taken over at Vieth’s market research company by the time he had arrived back from Korea and changes in his office life were afoot. With staff turnover and fluctuation being a problem identified by the new CEO of the company, Vieth was drawn into a conversation with the CEO about how long he was planning to stay. “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,’” he told his new boss.
Knowing that this was a huge step for him to take Vieth knew it would be hard to say but at the same time said he found it liberating. “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.”
Vieth had come to decide that he could do without the high standard of living and good pay that this old job offered as long as he could pursue his photography. “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,” he says.
Living The Dream
Vieth was now headlong into pursuing the kind of life that he had always dreamed of. He has arranged to sell his own art through his own shop, working together with an international art dealer, and quite a few galleries in Germany have become interested in his work. “It’s a dream come and still coming true! It demands hard work and perseverance, but hey, let’s make the impossible possible,” he says.
Words by Elijah (Content Marketer)