It started as a way to get to know my new camera, and to ensure that my expensive investment wouldn’t end up covered in dust six months after I bought it, neglected after the initial honeymoon period of frantic snapping. I’d bought a Canon EOS 7D for myself to celebrate the end of my PhD, and received a damn fine lens as a gift. The 1984 photo project became a behemoth that challenged my creativity and my tenacity.

Day 369: ended.

The initial idea was to take a photo a day to learn about the mechanics of my new toy. But, in an effort to keep myself interested, compelled and challenged by it, I took the (frankly) bizarre decision to shoot the words in sequence of one of my favourite books, George Orwell’s 1949 dystopian classic 1984.

And so I took a photo every day and published them on Twitter (with the potential of public humiliation for petering out providing the incentive for sticking with it). In the process, I became a half-woman-half-parsing machine. I am now clinically unable to walk down the street without scanning my environment and cross-checking it with a mental checklist of the word(s) I have to shoot today.

The stipulations were thus:
1) take a photo a day, even if it’s crap
2) make all images as beautiful and stand-alone as possible (thus contradicting the second part of rule 1)
3) use the semantics of the word as inspiration, but don’t be ruled by them
4) try out different mechanical techniques to get to know the camera and the photographic process

The project also became a photo diary of one of the most difficult years of my life. I started it four days before my ex and I finally decided to admit to ourselves that our 13 year relationship was irreparable, and that we would get a divorce. I finished taking the photographs one year and one month later. Despite the tremendous professional successes (you can see the Emmy that the TV show I presented for the BBC in January/February won, in Days 124, 125 and 126 and the various places I was able to travel for work), it was an emotionally tumultuous year. Each image is imbued with mental metadata about where and when it was taken. I can read the subtle codes I put into the photos to remind me what had happened that day, and how I was feeling. I can read the highs and all of the many lows. I watched it in its totality the other night and it made me cry.

And now, after 369 images taken (almost) every day (I allowed myself a month off in November), the 1984 photo project is complete. There will be an exhibition, a book and a web presence. Details of these are forthcoming.

Finally, I have a few projects I’m working towards next. None of them involve taking a photo a day. All of them involve my Canon EOS 7D.

Here are a few facts about the 1984 project:

The project is not affiliated with any official Orwell trust, prize or estate. 1984 was the inspiration, as one of my favourite books, and one that I feel is particularly ideologically relevant to the Web and our relationship with it.

Other books I considered were Catcher in the Rye, Great Expectations, Brave New World, Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Gulliver’s Travels.

All images were taken on manual mode.

I used a variety of lenses (borrowing them from people when I had the chance), but the main two I used were my Canon EF17-40mm f/4L USM and my Canon EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM.

You can watch the whole slideshow here (takes approximately 30 minutes)

23 of my favourite images:
Day 7: in
Day 21: his
Day 57: hallway
Day 62: old
Day 67: end
Day 84: it
Day 93: metre
Day 107: moustache
Day 154: preparation
Day 159: flat
Day 199: gaze
Day 223: brother
Day 234: flat
Day 256: voice
Day 296: telescreen
Day 307: way
Day 309: shutting
Day 315: over
Day 327: body
Day 343: was
Day 349: sanguine
Day 354: coarse
Day 355: soap

Most importantly, I would like to thank the following people for their support as idea-generators, participants and enthusiasts (in no particular order):

Max Williams
Jo Twist
Margaret Robertson
Oliver Schofield
Molly Milton
Anna Pickard
Vaughan Bell
Bobbie Johnson
Jemima Kiss
Ruth Ratner
Amelia Hart
Danuta Krotoski
Vic Keegan
Kat Jungnickel
Dan Catt
Jo Wade
Kevin Meredith
Amelia Whiteley
Artley Kiss
Dan Hon
Robin Wray
Kim Plowright
Stevan Keane
Bill Thompson
Paula Knee
Rachel Woolston
Scott Muir
Sophie Cotanan
Petter Måhlén
Rebecka Bengtsson
Shaun Morrison
Craig Littlewood
Desiree Milosovic
Brad King
Becky Barron
Anno Mitchell
John Turner
Steve Turner
Dan Glaser
Andre Shoben
Barry Lam
Paul Bennun
Neil Bennun
Tassos Stevens
Nick Ryan
Jo Roach
Matt Hawn
Cory Doctorow
Anna Pedroza
Paula le Dieu
Kaitlyn Thaney
Ellie Austin
Dan Taylor
Spartapuss the cat
Sam Conniff
Alice Taylor
Sam Pinney
The Orwell Prize
Rita J King
Rex Crowle
Berg London