Our newest challenge, “Ideas into Pictures”, comes from one of my favorite photographers Cig Harvey.
As I was thumbing through The Photographer’s Playbook in search of a new challenge, I was pleasantly surprised to find an entry from Ms. Harvey. As I’ve already mentioned, I’m a big fan of her work for both the simplicity of her images and the emotional reaction she is able to invoke in me. I admire her seemingly effortless combination of text and photo. Each of her images are a glimpse into a story, a mystery, an unfinished poem; they’re pure magic. If I could achieve half of what she is able to achieve with my own work, I would be thrilled.
The assignment she puts forth is called “Ideas Into Pictures: A Two-Part Assignment” (pg. 141).
- First write for 25 minutes whatever is in your head. There are no rules, no judgements, just get whatever is on your mind out and on paper. No one will ever read this so be open and honest with yourself. Harvey says to write fast and don’t worry about grammar or spelling; also keep going no matter if you’re stuck or if you’re enjoying it.
- After you’re done take five minutes to distill what you’ve written into one word. Be as specific as possible. You can choose your word or an antonym of that word.
- Write your chosen word in the center of a page and circle it. For twenty minutes free associate on this one word. Write down all the words, no sentences, that you associate with this one chosen word. “Write nouns, verbs, adjectives, and pronouns, making sure you cover each of these categories: metaphors, symbols, gestures, weather, animals, landscapes, emotions, light, depth of field, pallets, frame, format, and motion.
- When you’re finished you should have approximately 60 words encompassing both verbs and nouns. “The verbs tell us what to do with the nouns.” You want to avoid photographic cliches with your words.
This list will be your unconventional photographic map, or a “heightened-awerness list of what to be searching for if you’re a finder of pictures.”
As you can see this is actually a writing assignment and not a photography assignment. If you would like to take it to a logical photographic conclusion, by all means do so, and please share the results with us!
In the mean time I’m going to find a quite spot to hang out in and start writing. I’m curious what might be lurking in my subconscious.
These challenges have revealed some interesting results for those who have taken part. If you’re looking for a way to bust out of a creative rut or looking for a new way to explore toy photography, I hope you will consider taking part in our continuing series of challenges. You can start here or choose one of the past challenges.