A life in pictures
Photographer Jeff Harris has been clicking pictures of himself everyday since 1999. The result is a repository of 4,748-strong mundane and profound photos that tell his storyPhotographer Jeff Harris has been clicking pictures of himself everyday since 1999. The result is a repository of 4,748-strong mundane and profound photos that tell his story
There was nothing extraordinary about Canadian photographer Jeff Harris clicking a self-portrait one day in 1999. Thirteen years later, capturing each day of his life through his lense, Harris' photographic journey mirrors his relationships, interests, achievements and moods, ranging from everyday activities to blatant voyeurism.
Harris' project, which has found mention in various media, began when he realised that it would be easy to maintain his New Year Resolution of keeping a diary by clicking self-portraits. As his dedication to this visual documentary increased, he jumped into frozen lakes, went canoeing, and even had celebrities like Javier Bardem and Michael Moore click his photographs. Explore his website, and you will be hooked.
Even something as simple as shopping for groceries, makes you wonder at how beautiful life can be, and in this case, look, too. Depending on how exciting his day is, you could end up on the dentist's chair, be paragliding above a snowy ravine or sit on the backseat of his car with a beautiful date.
How has the life of an ordinary person been transformed into a story followed by millions? Perhaps because it ends up being a powerful experiment in the language of human emotions. Unlike many self-portraiture projects, Harris' diary is inclusive. We feel pleasure as he skis, and pain when he is diagnosed with cancer.
Post 2008, we follow him through surgeries and therapies as he struggles to come to terms with paralysis due to the disease. "My camera was the only thing consistent when when my body was going through a nightmare," he says. He even made his doctors click pictures as he lay unconscious during an operation. Today, Harris' diary has not only captured his life, but documented his transformation into an artist.