One Year

Most of you know by now that last February I started a project to share photos every day as a photographic journal, not limiting myself to one photo a day or any particular theme, I set off with the simple idea to capture and share my life as a means to closer examine and remember the day to day happenings in my life.

At this point, one year has passed and a limited run book is on its way featuring the images selected to share with everyone on Yesterday Was Only from day to day. Speaking of which, only one week left of pre-orders, that’s it! If there are any additional copies available beyond pre-order it won’t be many so if you would like a copy, now is the time!

In the process of finding nice enough photos of my life to share there were plenty that did not make the cut. Piles of photos that theoretically would never be seen by much of anyone at all unless you happened to be looking over my shoulder as I scroll though my Aperture libraries.

The thought crossed my mind toward the end of the first year of the project that maybe some of you would be interested in seeing the uncut version of my photographic output from 2013 so this is exactly what I have prepared in the most chaotic way possible, at 24 frames a second in a quasi stop motion video. (I tried 15FPS which allowed you to actually make out individual frames here and there but it drug on for too long)

The end result is a six minute video that you may or may not be able to sit through to the end without your eyes rolling into the back of your head. 8,212 frames in total it may be a bit on the indulgent side of my bright ideas but I figured why not. No scheme or theme like some self portrait photo a day guys pull off, this represents my entire photographic output for one year.

So, aside from a handful of personal photos and commissioned work that were omitted, have a look below to see every single photo I took last year. The good, the bad, the embarrassing, all of it.

A clearer, full definition version can be seen over on Vimeo.

Watching it is almost overwhelming for me in some ways. It represents one year of my life of which I only am allowed a finite amount of, so seeing it all compacted into this frantic rush of images makes it feel both small yet exponentially expanding. It’s like having my life shoved down through a funnel.

My reason for sharing this is not to show off a bunch of photos. Most of these were never meant to be seen, they are the test shots, the trash bin, the debris left on the cutting room floor. My reason for sharing is to illustrate how much, as a photographer, I don’t share with the world (and I know I’m not alone here). Photographers have this trick where we only share our best work, our best light, the brightest and most welcoming side our lives. There is a lot that gets brushed under the rug as we put our best foot forward to come across as a well adjusted, unique personalities on the web worthy of your time and attention.

There is a lot that gets embellished in the viewers translation of an image, what you see is not always exactly what existed in front of the photographer. The photographs we see and love represent the peak of what life is able to show us, sometimes to impossible levels of perfection. It’s often a showcase of almost imaginary moments even more grandiose than life can honestly give us. A photograph is not life itself, but a photo copy of it which this isn’t a bad thing, not at all. I think that photography, as a modern trend that has all but consumed our day to day lives, is a gift. Not particularly because we get inspired by the photos we see but because in the act of making photos we are driven to live better lives in order to capture and share amazing things.

Whenever you take the long way home, crawl into weird positions with your camera to get just the right angle to make a scene more unique, or prepare your food as beautifully as possible so it will look delicious when photographed, remember that photography drove you there. Just don’t forget to look beyond the viewfinder from time to time and soak in these beautiful things that pull you, camera in hand, along in life and on occasion set it aside and do something just for yourself from time to time.

I look back through these photographs and I remember just how many places I have seen not only because I happened to be in the right place at the right time, but because I took the time and energy to put myself in these scenarios in the name of finding great photos. I owe a lot to the fact that photography has taken me to such beautiful places in my life and sharing this passion with my wife, YoungDoo, has multiplied this magnetism ten fold as we explore together. For that, I am thankful.

The life of a photographer has long been thought to be one of adventure, travel, and privilege. It’s easy to look on with envy as you see other photographers that always seem to find such amazing places to photograph. There is no big secret to this though, these amazing places, people, and circumstances are all around us. The only way to turn these stories into our own reality is by getting out there and getting lost. Go ahead, buy a ticket, shut down this device and grab your camera, I’ll wait…

Object No. 7

Object No. 7

These two framed woodcuts appeared one day around my parents home and for one reason or another I asked if I could keep them them because I had never seen such a thing and this kind of kitschy art is fun to have around. In looking around for an object this week I came across these dramatically lit by the setting sun so I figured I would take advantage of the moment. Enjoy.

Shure 555

Shure 55

This was taken at the same church I was working in while I took the piano photos I shared recently. Stained glass gave everything in the room this beautiful shine. While we were checking stage inputs I noticed they were still using an old model Shure 555w mic that I immediately took a moment to pull over into the colorful light to shoot. The colors give iOS7 a nice purplish hue.

Seemed a fitting tribute to a classic microphone and I wanted to share it with all the audio geeks in the audience. Many people refer to this as the “Elvis mic” which is not entirely true, he used a number of different mics through different phases of his career, most notably various Electro-Voice mics, the 55 series mic just happened to hold such an iconic shape that is stuck along with his image over the years more so than others. I remember years back we had a corporate gig in Nashville where an Elvis impersonator was performing and he carried his own mic with him to more accurately replicate the look of the singer. If I remember correctly it was an EV RE-15, one rumored to be his personal favorite. OK, enough random Elvis microphone trivia. Enjoy the new desktop!

The Glow v1

The Glow

On Saturday I was greeted with a warm afternoon sunset on a particularly quiet afternoon and, naturally, I couldn’t pass up a couple of photo opportunities in the blueish twilight that followed. The colors feel exaggerated here yet my memory remembered the room having a beautiful deep blue tone late in the day. I was boiling some water for a pot of pour over coffee and as I took  the kettle from the stovetop I loved the way the orange glow so perfectly balanced the temperature of the light late in the day and because it was a nice, subtle glow the exposure was almost perfectly balanced leaving me with these beautifully simple photos. Perhaps a little unusual subject matter wise I thought it would be fun to offer them up as wallpapers. Enjoy!

The Glow v2

object 06

Object No. 6

This past friday I attempted my weekly object photo but somehow managed to pick the most difficult thing to shoot that I had around. A tiny plastic Buddha. Problem was that it is red, very red. The low contrast and the purity of the color wreaked havoc in the red channel of every photo I tried to take of it. So here we are, a couple days late with plan B.

Those of you following along for a while know that I have a thing for the Canon Canonet G-III QL17. It’s an old rangefinder with a beautiful fixed lens and anytime I am asked what my favorite camera is it’s a tossup between my Hasselblad 501CM and my Canonet. Only problem is that they are all getting a little old at this point seeing as they were manufactured in the 70s but there is no shortage of functioning copies out there for anyone curious. Many cleaned up and refurbished even.

The one photographed here is one of three that I own and has obviously seen better days. A few years back I started to take it apart to try and fix an issue I was having with the shutter but ended up giving up and stripping away most of its outer shell revealing the beautiful exposed machinery hiding inside. Seeing as most cameras on the market today are full of circuit boards and digital sensors I enjoy having this piece of well engineered history on the camera shelf.

When I hear photographers today say they know nothing of film or have no interest, it always makes me at least a little sad to hear but I know there is still a large group of us shooting away frame by precious frame whenever we can. Film has a soul that you can’t ignore once you have shot a few rolls, it’s an aesthetic and a way of life for many photographers. Even today as digital cameras have a life and personality all their own film holds a special place in the world of photography not only because it is the root of the craft but because there is still nothing else like it.

object 06 alt. 1&2


Brothers And Sisters

Damien Jurado has done it again with his new album Brothers And Sisters Of The Eternal Sun. Flying in under the radar with an amazing album that both pushes his songwriting to new levels yet still maintains the charm that makes him such a prolific songwriter. I believe this is his 11th album and it’s one of his more adventurous sonically with hints of psych-rock and other uncharted territory sneaking into the fray. I have always admired his ability to test the waters with new ideas and sounds without going so far off course you don’t recognize the music as his.

Early copies of the LP contain a second 12″ with alternate takes of each song on the record which offer stripped down versions of each song and is well worth seeking out a copy with the bonus content. You essentially get two versions of the same record that suits two different moods. I think the extra content is available digitally as well but this is a perfect example of an album that begs to be played on a record player. Love it.

YWO Index

YWO Index – Book

One year ago I decided to start up a new project called Yesterday Was Only wherein I post at least one photo every day of the year. It quickly became routine for me to carry my camera everywhere and while there were plenty of days where I had to stretch my standards to get a shot in, I am still proud of the work as a whole.

Looking back through the photos on YWO I feel humbled by my own life. These were not taken to impress, nor to gain viewers or be part of some kind of movement. It started as a way to drive myself to stay active with my camera through a busy year. When I look back through these images I notice that, although life seems to move by all too quickly at times, we accomplish a lot more than we think we do in a single year.

As short as a single day feels at times, this project has been a great reminder that I can still sneak in a little creativity during even the most busy of days. Browsing this backlog shows me that despite not having any grand adventures in other countries, I was still able to see and experience so much. There are a lot of forgotten moments hiding in these photographs.

The biggest impact I think it had on me as a photographer was on my post editing which has seen a big shift this year. For a long while I was hooked on overly warm colors and minimal editing to the point of it being almost a fault at times. While I still do as little as possible when editing, after working steadily day in and day out on so many different images I feel I have refined my post editing skill quite a bit over the past year and its really interesting to browse through a year’s worth of images in one place and see that evolution.

YWO Index v.1 Details:

My reason in writing today is to not only mark the occasion but announce a book to commemorate the projects first year. I am calling it the Yesterday Was Only Index v.1 and it will include every single image posted to the site over the course of the past year, 1,068 images in all.

In researching the best way to do this my original plan was to create a fat, newsprint catalogue with one image on every page. However, my ambition runs deeper than my pockets are able to fund so I am taking a simpler approach. The book will be 5”x5” (127mm) and contain around 180 pages with six 2” (50.8mm) photos on each page. I have chosen a nice uncoated paper for the printing.

It will be Wire Bound with a brown chipboard cover I will stamp by hand with the title which will, in my mind, help it stay within my original concept of it being akin to an appendix for the site, a literal catalogue that is a physical reproduction of the content shared on the site. There will be no words along with the photographs, only the images themselves and a brief introduction.


I am not limiting the amount of books sold but this will be the one and only run of the book. If you do not order now there will not be another opportunity to buy it in the future, once these first copies are gone, thats it. I will sign and number each copy based on the amount of them that are ordered when ordering closes.

Each book is $30USD for U.S. readers and $35USD for any orders outside the U.S. (This price includes shipping.)

All orders are Pre-Orders which will be open for three weeks. I will most likely close orders on Feb 24th. Please note, books will be shipped as soon as they arrive in my hands which should be within the first couple weeks of March. If there are not enough orders to at least break even on the cost I will issue a full refund.

On that note, please show your support and help spread the word whether you are buying a copy or not! I would love to see this book get made and I need your help to do it. If enough orders come in I may have a little bonus for you guys as well!

For U.S.residents, click here to order.

Anyone outside of the U.S. please, click here to order.

This is just the beginning of a lot of fun things to come. I have made a conscious decision to put more time and resources into kicking things up this year. I have planned a few ideas to death but realized the only way anything will ever get done is to just jump in and give it my all. Thanks, as always, for your support!

object no. 5

Object No. 5

While in India there was no shortage of locals suckering tourists into any manner of things. Food, clothing, restaurants, anything and everything, there was always someone willing to show me the best of the best in the area or whatever area I was heading toward.

One quiet afternoon near a lake we were greeted by a boy selling carved stone goods laid out on a blanket on the ground. We approached him like we approached any tout, with a fair degree of skepticism. I quickly noticed a stone off to the side of all his polished sellable product that was meant to show that he was the one that had made all of these intricate carvings but it was clearly just a hacked away at chunk of rock, not even closely resembling the same design of the things he was selling. I could only assume it was just a means to pull in the curiosity of those who may not notice that he was not in fact the artist.

While I often turned down such advances I decided on this day to buy the smallest little Ganesha he was selling which I then ended up carrying around with me for about year before keeping it in a drawer at home which is why it ended up getting so many scars. Still though, seeing it always reminds me of that warm afternoon by a lake in Udaipur so I like having it around.

variation #1


There are days I go without finding anything at all to shoot for YWO. I head in and out of the same spaces and venues day in and day out sometimes leaving little room for creativity or interesting subject matter. Ive gone digging around in closets, back rooms, rooftops, you name it. There are a lot of days I come up empty handed and end up stealing another shot of my laptop or a record spinning.

But sometimes there are days like yesterday where I am working in a new space and things line up well for new discoveries. This time I was at a new church retrofitting their aging sound system with something newer and its walls were covered in richly colored stained glass which left the room filled with beautiful colored light all day long. Toward the end of the day I noticed a shard of light made its way onto the strings of their grand piano on stage so I quickly ran to grab my X-Pro1 for a few quick shots of its unique glowing presence.

I took advantage of the rear LCD here and snuck the camera into the piano to frame these few shots and for those curious of such things, outside of the slightest bit of curve adjustment these are JPG’s straight out of the camera. I know for a fact there are a number of piano lovers out there and figured some colorful, abstract shots of a piano may be just what you never knew you needed on your devices background until this moment. Enjoy!

variation #2 variation #3

To whom it may concern,



• Enjoy the images! It’s a labor of love, thanks for your support!
• Share with friends.
• Send me a quick mail if you are interested in using an image for commercial or personal use other than wallpaper.


• Post these elsewhere online.
• Share links directly to images.
• Pass them around in mass.
• Make prints.
• Use images for web banners or graphics.
• Use them in commercial work.

If you help me out with these I will be able to keep doing what I love to do. Thanks again, really, for your support and understanding. -J


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Use your best judgement and we will get along just fine.

Thank you for your understanding and support!

-John Carey (curator, owner)