One year, 365 photos
In December of 2011, Derrick Hanni was nearing his 44th birthday when he decided to embark on an art campaign that would change his life.
A year prior, when he and his family lived in Montreal, Hanni was part of a large photography club and had a friend who was taking a picture a day for a year.
In Coquitlam, Hanni thought about his friend’s mega-project and contemplated whether he could do the same. And after seeing his friend’s finished product, Hanni made the commitment and launched his own year-long photography journey.
From the start, Hanni’s plan was not to limit himself with a subject matter or a camera; he could use an iPhone, a DSLR, a point-and-shoot or his children’s happy snaps to document an image.
In fact, Hanni only really had one goal in mind: To capture something daily that he was happy with.
It seemed easy enough, the freelance graphic designer thought. He had a list of eight or nine ideas at the beginning.
But on Day 10, reality hit.
“I was wandering around the house. I had an old twin-lens Crank camera and I thought, ‘How can I photograph this?’ It dawned on me, ‘Derrick, you only had eight or nine ideas when you started.’”
And so, like any creative person, Hanni took a picture of the camera and superimposed the image on the back of his head in a self-portrait, with the camera counter reading ZERO.
He titled the piece Time To Load More Ideas.
Desperate to find inspiration, Hanni trolled through the internet the next day and dug for clues from professional shutterbugs.
And his answer was the world around him: Take pleasure in family, the frost on the trees at Como Lake Park, the raindrops on a flower in the garden.
A third of his photos in Project 365 — a sample of which will be on display this month at the Port Moody Arts Centre — are of his children, Juliana and Luca, now 11 and nine.
His daughter was an exceptional model, he said, always willing to try something new no matter how crazy the concept.
For example, last October, after returning home from school, Hanni asked Juliana to pose in the kitchen with flour on her face. Her expression was perfect, he said.
Juliana was also a fountain of enthusiasm, accompanying her father on his photography outings with her camera in hand. While on vacation in Thailand, she turned her camera to give an interesting take of the beach. Hanni liked what she did and tried to copy it “but it wasn’t as good as hers,” he lamented.
His son, on the other hand, wasn’t always such a keen participant. Luca would agree to be in a photo shoot but would allow his dad a finite amount of time. “He would give me six shots and be off,” he said. “He had other things he had to do.”
Hanni, who was trained at Vancouver Community College as a fashion photographer but left the field early, said he only digitally enhanced a few pictures with PhotoShop. For instance, Hanni replicated Jack and the Bean Stalk with Luca as the protagonist. In another photo, Luca is levitating while he and his sister meditate in the back yard.
Hanna said because his space at PMAC is small and therefore he can only show 18 images from Project 365 (the entirety is in a book on show in the Plum Gallery), he hopes he can display the complete collection in another Metro Vancouver gallery soon (to see the series, go to dhanni.com/365).
As for what he learned from Project 365, Hanni said, “There’s a photograph in everything. You just have to take the time to look around, examine it and figure out how to photograph it.”
• The opening reception for Derrick Hanni’s Project 365 is tomorrow (Thursday) at 6 p.m. at the Port Moody Arts Centre (2425 St. John’s St.).
The exhibit runs until Feb. 17 along with displays from Ximeng Guo (A Place In Your Heart, oil and acrylic paintings); Nicola Tibbetts; and a PoMo public art showcase.