Showing your work

Showing your work is something we've had pounded in our heads since grade school.  You never get full credit for math problems if you don't show what got you to the answer, otherwise you don't convince the teacher you understand the problem.  The idea of showing your work isn't a foreign one, but it takes a different form when you get to the point where you don't take math classes or you're almost done with school.

Day 1.jpg

Take this photo for example:

Yeah, it's a ridiculous photo of me, but it didn't come out of thin air.  I didn't just wake up thinking I would sit my camera down with my fisheye lens, stick my tongue out, and point downward at the camera.  I went through a process.

bobby and preg.jpg

First step, inspiration.

I took this photo (photo to the left) back in 2010, my first semester of freshman year of college.  This is Bobby and Preg, a couple friends, hall mates, and willing models for my new fake fisheye lens I got for $10 on Amazon (which I nicknamed my Fisheye Price lens).  


Day 1.jpg

Next step: I wanted to make up for the failure and regret I felt when I did not complete my second 365 project (365 Season 2).  This Day 1 atrocity came to mind (on the right):  

Look at that heinous color! I don't know how I ever let that leave my hardrive. It was a failure from the start, so 365 Reloaded was started in order to make up for this "epic fail".


Day 1 notes.jpg

But of course, I must write a bunch of stuff down in order for it to make sense in my mind, ala the notebook.

These are some preliminary notes, and you can probably deduce where I got the sticking my tongue out thing. (Hint: I had been listening to "Wrecking Ball" while thinking about all this.)



I always struggled with showing my work in math class, partly because I'm horrible at math and also because, who's got time for that? The idea of showing the process was introduced to me by Austin Kleon, author of Steal Like an Artist and the upcoming (you'll be shocked by the title) Show Your Work.  He's fascinated by the idea of showing his process through venues such as Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and so forth.  He posts newspaper blackouts (if you don't know what that is, I supplied a link) on his Instagram account, and updates his progress on various projects by posting notes, drawings, etc.  Showing his work has really helped him build a community around his work as well as gotten him recognized and published.  He's been someone I've started following over the past few months, and I've really learned a lot from him.  

Ideas are powerful things, and it's always great to finish a labor intensive project and get to look back at all the steps that got you there.  You could start out with an idea that has nothing to do with your project and end up with a completely different and more awesome result than intended.  In a society that values sharing ideas and experience, showing your work is key.