Matthew 2016

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Last January 1st, I challenged myself to do a photo-a-day project for the first time. Rather than random subjects, I chose to focus on Matthew.

Now complete, it was a total labor of love. At various times fun, tedious, challenging and revealing. My subject was amazing and has changed so much. Looking backwards now, it's hard to believe I assembled these 366 photos. One per day.

The link to the photos is at the end, but first, some random observations.

Matthew grew from a baby into a little boy this year.

Seriously, I love this kids hair! Long, scraggly, wet, freshly trimmed. It's amazing how much different he looks from image to image. The biggest drawback to choosing black & white is the loss of his beautiful red hair.

I started shooting RAW images with my good cameras for better quality. It didn't last long. If I continued, I never would have finishing the project. I don't regret this for a minute and it was liberating to prioritize the moment over the technical purity of the image.

The look on Matthew's face on March 2nd when walking across the room for the first time. Falling repeatedly, but getting up over, and over and over again. Laughing the whole time and so very proud. A good life lesson for all.

I shot 314 photos with my SLR cameras, 49 photos with my iPhone and 3 using screen capture during Facetime calls on days when I didn't see Matthew in person. I captured images with each camera I couldn't have taken any other way. The best camera truly is the one you have with you. That said, purchase the best camera you can afford and learn to use it. Also, carry your phone at all times. Doing both opens up possibilities that wouldn't otherwise exist.

Matthew staring at the Space Needle out of his hotel window in a diaper. Priceless.

Looking through the photos, it's easy to see how routine our lives are. I don't say that in a negative sense at all. So many of the images are taken in his bedroom, while eating, looking out windows, or playing in the yard or park. This is his world and he thrives in it.

We should all take the time to splash in a fresh puddle.

It seems like Matthew is wearing pajamas in half the shots. He should not be in a hurry to grow up!

Many of the shots I love the most are common moments where his expression is the focus. His joy and wonder at experiencing life are fun to watch and he inspires his dad frequently.

This kid always has something in his mouth! A spoon. A pacifier. His food. His hand. A foot. Dirt. Our food. Everything goes.

I love the way the top of his nose wrinkles when he flashes that big, cheesy smile.

We have a happy little boy. There are photos of him upset and crying scattered around, and I'm sure they're not represented proportionally, but we really are blessed. Matthew makes our life better in so many ways and brightens most of our days.

I love to run, but somewhere along the way I lost the pure joy he gets when doing the same. Hair flying in the breeze and arms swinging.

Matthew found out he's going to be a big brother to a little sister, and he's very excited.

This 2016 project is complete. Where do I go from here? I don't know. I'm going to continue for a bit as if nothing has changed, but I don't know if it's permanent. There have been times when having a camera in my hands has taken me away from a moment with my son. On balance, I think it was worth it, but I'm not sure that's true moving forward.

Matthew is starting to have his say also. He's learned the word 'no' in the last couple weeks and occasionally instructs me to put the camera down. I'm trying hard to respect some of his requests. He's not old enough to appreciate what I captured here, and he won't be for some time. Time will tell. No matter what, we'll always have these 366 images.

Check them out at the link below. The bigger your viewing screen, the better.

http://tinyurl.com/2016matthew