We’re all familiar with a year-round photo challenge where you need to take a picture every day for 365 days straight. In case you’re looking for something less intense and time-consuming, this 30 day photo challenge is just the right for you.
We all go through periods where we’re not inspired by the usual things that bring us new ideas to explore our photography projects. It might be due to the lack of free time and feeling bored in our daily life. Boredom is the birthplace for creativity.
But because boredom is also accompanied by solitary, some might find it highly uncomfortable. When for some reason your phone was not able to connect to Instagram or the wifi, you started to look around you; at the people, the situations and your own emotions. Have you ever just stopped to look when this has happened?
It’s difficult to cut out of our daily habits, especially if it means we need to be present and still for a moment. Physical experiences are great for this but also deliberate stopping. This months 30 day photo challenge will help you to inspect your working methods and connect you back to being present while being creative.
30 day photo challenge will take you through weekly challenges where you can only focus on the task at hand. No looking at the next week challenge and not changing the order of the weekly challenges.
Are you ready? Here we go.
WEEK 1: Story-telling
Telling a story with pictures is like writing with words. Something is seen, or thought of or imagined. Start by telling a story with images that you can make and put together, one after another, to recount something – be it abstract, conceptual, documentary or journalistic.
Follow one person, a group, a place. Inside or out. It can be vast or very small. It can be realistic or abstract. It can be something real, an idea, a fantasy, an emotion.
Do not use more than eight photos, no fewer than five. Each image must add something that hasn’t yet been seen in the images that precede it. The selection should be coherent.
WEEK 2: Objects
Look for five to ten objects that are somehow related – it could be by color, type of object , quality of surface, even a theme like ‘tropical’ or from the same place like ‘stuff from Mom’s basement’. You don’t necessarily have to go far in your search, but it can also be fun to make a trip to a junk store or some other place to find discarded objects. See what your chosen objects look like photographically and how they relate when they are places together in one image. Narratives will develop between the objects.
Shoot a roll of film of your objects placed in different arrangements. Take some out, put new ones in move them around. For digital: Shoot 24 images and no more, no less.
If you want to challenge yourself further, look at what you’ve made with the objects and go out into the world to try to find real outside things that relate – a sign that relates to one of your objects, a color that mimics something you found, or a person who reminds you of your photograph.
WEEK 3: Change Your Surroundings
Expose yourself to a different environment. Go on an overnight trip, preferably two nights, to somewhere that you don’t normally go. Obviously the whole goal is to photograph there, and you should take as many pictures as you can. See how much more you’re responding to, and the details you’re seeing that you walk by every day in your normal daily life. Notice that it’s like somebody opened your eyes.
This is the most tried and true method of finding things that you like to photograph. It’s worked for photographers for years. Most effective thing would be to book a flight (as spontaneously as it can be done nowadays) or to just take a short drive or a trip to somewhere without any plans for the next couple of days. To fully see and examine the surroundings and to find visual inspiration through spontaneity.
WEEK 4: Planning
Spend full 24hrs with yourself and build a series of images during this time. It can be a documentary project with strangers or people you already know, or it can be about landscape and photographs of non-human objects or elements. Plan your series, take a full roll of images or if shooting digital, maximum amount of 24 images. Edit the images into a coherent set of a final selection and present them in a PDF file (choose the design and layout).
During my studies in KABK, we had a roadtrip to Slovakia and prior to the actual trip we needed to plan ahead the theme we wanted to work on. But it did not end there; we needed to pitch the theme to our class and teachers, where they would give us feedback on the coherency of the idea and the actual plan to execute it once we arrived at the location. Some people needed to review their ideas and make them stronger, because once we were there, we needed to know the next steps and move forward.
This might seem a stressful approach but will give you an understanding of importance of planning. When you know what you’re doing, execution will be easy.
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