This Picture Sucks

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and so do yours

#18. Weekly photo assignments

Back when I started shooting digital, I thought photo assignments were awesome. The concept is kind of exciting, isn’t it? You get a topic to shoot, usually just a word, maybe two. Just like a real grown-up photographer! Then at the end of the week, your peers vote on the best pic and people go, “everybody turned in amazing work!” or some other crap nobody really believes.

The fail is two-fold with this one. First of all, there’s pretty much only one kind of photographer who works this way: the stock photographer. If you want make a career of taking boring pictures with no budgets of TFP models, then this is perfect for you. It is a great way to figure out how to illustrate simple concepts, like “failure” and “despair”, in a banal and obvious manner.

It keeps getting better, since your weekly contest jury is made up of people who thought that this shit was a good idea in the first place. You know that’s who I want rating my work, the dude I’ve been voting down for 3 weeks because he keeps posting color-toned flower macros.

Instead of shooting a weekly assignment, consider shooting one that last a month, three months, a year. Consider getting more than one shot out of it. Consider making it a coherent series of images, like one you’d see in a book, a magazine, possibly on the walls of a gallery. Or just spend another week trying to illustrate “boredom”.

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Filed under: thelist

One Response

  1. I own a photography beginners mailing list and flikrgroup that does “Daily Challenges” and let me tell you -your blog, especially this article, seems designed solely to save my sanity. I very much appreciate it!

    -Erica

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