Barrett’s Birthday Photo Project

by Barrett

If you’ve been considering the value of maintaining a folder containing all of your birthday photos across the years, here’s what I’ve experienced with this practice.

Since I can remember, I’ve been a bit obsessed with taking a picture of myself on my birthday. No, not just an action shot during my party or next to my cake. But an image that would be ‘that photo’ to represent this little milestone moment as I begin the next year of my life. I would add it to the other photos that came before it, and this group of pictures would somehow illustrate the totality of my life.

Of course, that’s an impossibly high bar to meet. In fact, this growing batch of photos merely consists of sometimes average pictures on the same day each year. That said, as I review them annually, the images do represent a journey of sorts.

For many of the photos, I tried to show off my age with my fingers, but I eventually ran out of digits. So I gave up that practice.

Take More Control of your Moment
In more recent years, I’ve tried taking self-portraits using the timers on my cameras. This technique essentially allowed me to plan for more advanced selfies.

And now with the smartphone LUMIX Sync app for my Panasonic Lumix GH5 II, I’m able to control my camera with my iPhone. That eliminates the need to sprint in front of my camera before the camera’s countdown runs out.

Find your Photo Early in the Day
This year, I brought my Lumix and little Joby tripod to the front steps of our house at dawn to find my official birthday shot. And I captured the quiet moment as part of my morning magic hour.

This is the time for me when all things are possible. The weight of age melts away.

These are typically the sixty minutes when my creative self is strong, the thoughts flow and I write.

Being Present is the Present
The sun rises behind me. It’s an unseasonably warm 45 degrees, and I wear no coat.

I have my iPhone in my hand just below the frame controlling my GH5 II. I’ve got a little bokeh in my background. It feels like time momentarily slows down. I take the picture.

This moment I create is itself a gift.

And then I walk back into my house moments before my eleven-year-old son wakes up and comes downstairs. He gives me a hug, and we do a little happy-birthday dance together. I walk into the kitchen, and my wife is preparing a special breakfast.

It’s an amazing start to my birthday.

Happy Birthday Barrett
Then, the day unfolded, leading to a small dinner gathering with friends who have been part of our pandemic pod over the past two years.

My morning photo project was no longer the headline for my birthday, but I’m happy that I took care of my little ritual the way that I did.

Later, I added my 2022 birthday picture to the others in my Adobe Lightroom folder. Then, I moved on to create the above photo collage for this blog post. Finally, I closed up my photo project for another year… feeling quite satisfied.

I’ve found this practice is a rewarding way across the years to simply celebrate that the journey continues. I highly recommend it.

Happy birthday to me.