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A total of 316 days have passed since the first initial test shots in my friend's flat to sitting exhausted in front of the computer after a marathon weekend of final edits. But, ultimately, here we are: Faces of Friendship II is now complete.

It's been my longest running project to date and has occupied a huge amount of time and energy throughout 2016. And because I am a fan of stats I thought I'd break it down into a few figures:

  • It took 316 days to complete

  • A total of 14 people were involved

  • Approximately 550 photographs taken

  • Final selections were whittled down to 42 images

  • It was completed 5 years after the original Faces of Friendship

My initial feeling? Exhaustion! I write this post off the back of two bouts of illness this year alone which I am putting down to many late nights and almost entire weekends spent in front of the iMac performing the finishing touches. The original plan was to capture all the photographs before the end of 2016; unfortunately time constraints means I overshot that. Nevertheless, a couple of months late on a project of this scale is something I can live with.

And once the tiredness wore off? A feeling of immense satisfaction. At the risk of sounding smug, long-term projects are tricky love affairs. They begin with ideas and brainstorming and enthusiasm, but time is a relentless test of resilience and commitment. I might be exhausted and a little behind behind schedule, but ulimtately I am incredibly pleased with the fact that I completed the goal that I set out back in early 2016. It's an achievement I am very proud of and an experience from which I have learnt a great deal.

Right now I am feeling a mix of excitement and apprehension. The work is complete but I have not yet made it public. I am still working out the details on this but in the meantime there is a slight sense of it not being truly finishing until it has gone live.

In my last post on this project in August I made a note of all the things I had learnt so far. I was planning on adding to that list but I think that everything I noted then remains true now. Perhaps the only thing I would add is to stress how important it is to have periods away from projects like this. Blocking out time to focus on something completely unrelated is key - it gives you a chance to recharge and review your work with fresh eyes - and I was guilty of not doing that enough in the early months.

So the next task for me is to determine how and when the project will go public; stay tuned for more updates on this. I would be lying if I said that I had not given a cursory thought to Faces of Friendship III. I never envisioned this to be a long-running project but it has been so rewarding that I think a return in 2020 is probably inevitable. Watch this space.

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