254 | An Update
I dreamed up my self-imposed 254 challenge a little over a year ago — the original idea a borrowed one, in which the goal is to visit every county in Texas, and my twist being to take a photo in each one.
At the time, living in Dallas, I spent most every weekend leaving the city and wandering to small towns nearby (and not-so-nearby), and progress was pretty quick. But as I got a little better with my camera, my standard for what those photos looked like got higher — as did my hopes for what I might do with the project after the fact. I also half-suddenly, half-not decided to go ahead and move back to Houston, where a more rooted community and more responsibilities made me a little less eager to leave town every chance I got.
A few months ago, I decided to pause and evaluate the project. If I feel like I’m not completing a project the way I “envisioned” it, I have a tendency to feel embarrassed, somehow — like I’m letting some unspoken standard down or leaving creative potential on the table. But I like to think that the older I get, I’m better at giving myself some grace. The reality is that no one is depending on this project — it’s just a fun one, for me. I still wanted to do it; and just because the process for finishing wouldn’t look like the process I started with was no reason to toss it.
With that decided, I moved on to figuring out what the new process would be, exactly. If I’m not willing to sacrifice spare time the way I was in Dallas, I figured I’d need to make that time, well, not spare. The 254 project deserved some space on my calendar, and prioritizing a little efficiency would probably be important. For now, I’ve pretty much settled on a few extended road trips being the ticket to getting the project done, and started drawing up tentative plans for those.
I bought an atlas that focuses on outdoor recreation — AKA the kinds of places I tend to be drawn to as a photographer in the first place, or would likely want to visit anyway — and took a day last month to sit down and map out what I’ve done, what I have left to go, and some routes that would allow me to complete the project. With some major work commitments through May, the trips I’m plotting will most likely wait until then, but it’s been fun for me to take a different approach with the project and dream about what it might look like. Figured I’d share here since this has been the main platform for it all along.
Also, out of curiosity… would anyone be interested in a book of the photos once this thing is done?