Wednesday, May 7, 2008

A Photo a Day

Many artists will tell you the key to being good at their craft is practice, practice, practice. And consistency is also a crucial part of the equation. 

Angela Richardson is learning this firsthand—in an entirely new way—through her latest artistic endeavor.

The Madison visual artist and performer is known in a lot of circles around town (she’s a founding member and performer at Cherry Pop Burlesque, runs Dr. Sketchy's Anti Art School Madison and is often known by the stage name “Olive Talique”).

Yet Richardson is returning to an early love of photography by participating in Project 365 on the photo-sharing website Flickr. The premise of Project 365 is simple: Participating artists must post a photo every day for a year.

Of course, actually doing this isn’t so simplistic. Richardson has found the daily practice of taking and sharing a photograph has had profound and sometimes surprising impacts.

Richardson started her own Project 365 site on January 22 and has since captured such varied subject matter as a bird silh
ouetted in a tree, a piece of chocolate cake, doodles on a notebook page, a pair of legs (hers) in fishnet stockings and hot-pink stilettos, local architecture and myriad faces.

“I don’t have any preconceived notions,” she says of what scenes catch her attention. “I really do approach every day as, ‘OK, I’m going out into the world.’”

But over time—she’s now only about a third of the way into the project—she’s learned to spot a good shot.

“As I go along, my eye becomes more finely tuned,” she says. “When I see a picture, I know to 
stop and take it.”

When Richardson posts a photo, she also offers a written entry “to provide context, share info, vent, crack a joke, tell a story,” she explains on her site. In her words as well as her images, she typically presents a mix of humor, optimism, thoughtfulness and beauty.

When viewed together on Richardson’s site, the photos appear to have been chosen as a collective, not a piecemeal accumulation. That the images complement one another is testament to the strength of each person’s individual vantage point, she says.

“The fact that they look neat together is because it’s seeing the world through one person’s eyes,” she says. “I tend to be optimistic. I try to see the beautiful. I have faith in the world and I look for images that reinforce that.”

Taking the time to capture an image every day, as opposed to breaking out a camera only for special occasions, has had a slowing, almost meditative, effect on Richardson.

“It’s also taught me to look really carefully and pay hyper-attention to things,” she says. “I’ve been really moved by the fact that there’s absolute abundant beauty everywhere. It’s been very joyful in that way.”

Over the past few months, Richardson also has learned to trust the process, that she will get a photo every day, even if it comes later than she’d like. “Images are absolutely everywhere,” she says. “I can’t even escape them—and I mean that in the best way.”

She reached her one-hundredth-photo milestone just before Gallery Night last Thursday, and showcased her images at Winnebago Studios. She also hopes to have a show next year after she wraps the project.

Richardson isn’t sure what she’ll photograph before then or what her feelings on the project will be at that point. But she’s grateful for the chance to be “forced” into working on her photography on such a regular basis and adopting a daily practice.

“I didn’t really question the wisdom of that before, but I didn’t understand what that meant,” she says.

For more information on Angela Richardson—or to see her photography or purchase a print—visit her Flickr page or artist site, or email her at

Richardson’s photos shown above are Sometimes…, This is the beginning of a new story, Contrast and Ha ha ha!

COMING UP: A few events to check out this week

Jazz lovers should check out Tunes at Monona Terrace this evening when MadiSalsa Latin Jazz performs.

Madison Opera offers its first production of tragic opera Lucia Di Lammermoor on Friday and Sunday. Meanwhile Encore! Studio for the Performing Arts debuts its first full musical, Found Money, on Saturday; the production runs through May 24.

The Chazen Museum of Art transforms into a big top on Saturday with circus performers, entertainment and, of course, art. Also on Saturday is the Madison Area Music Awards at the Barrymore Theatre.

Don’t forget Mom this weekend. Olbrich Botanical Gardens presents a Mother’s Day Concert Sunday afternoon, while the UW Arboretum offers a Birding before Brunch walk, Mother’s Day Brunch and Mother’s Day Walk.

And next Tuesday through Sunday, Overture Center presents the musical comedy Monty Python’s Spamalot.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree a photo a day is a great way to get your spirits up and keep a visual log of who you are. I always upload my photos to my ritz account and then all my friends can access them too.