Power of Words

I have a lot of respect for the power of words. As the year comes to an end I’ve been thinking a lot about what comes next. Both personally, for the blog and my own creative life. Like many of the readers of this blog I struggle with keeping my creativity going. I appreciate posts like the one from James on using art books to stimulate creativity.

One of my favorite books to stimulate my own creativity is The Photographer’s Playbook. I’ve been feeling lost lately so I turned to this trusty book of photography assignments. I wanted to revisit an earlier exercise by Cig Harvey: Ideas into pictures, a two part assignment. Because I believe in the power of words, I really enjoyed this task when I first completed it in March 2016. It reminds me of the surrealists use of automatic writing to unlock the subconscious. The other reason I wanted to revisit this assignment was to see if anything had changed in my perspective in the intervening two years. Continue reading Power of Words

Being in the Game

The very first play in The Photographer’s Playbook asks the reader to figure out what game they’re playing. So, I say to myself, “I’m creating because I have a creative drive.” But this needs to go deeper. What are my goals, how do I intend to achieve them, and what is the best way to go about this? All things I have very vague answers to in my head.

And then I remembered a quote from Netflix’s The Incredible Jessica James, spoken by real world playwright Sarah Jones.

“And you’re doing it. That’s why we’re here right? This is it! There’s kinda not more to it than that.”

Continue reading Being in the Game

Make it Seem

This latest photo challenge, ‘make it seem…’, had me struggling from the get go which is why its taken me so long to post a response.  Like Kristina, I really enjoy these challenges. Not only can they push me in new directions, they often reveal something that is already present in my photographs. This challenge was no exception. Continue reading Make it Seem

Make it seem – a new challenge

It’s my turn to present the next photo challenge. I have choose one by Lucas Fogia called “Make it seem…“. This is a photographic challenge where you are supposed to make four different toy- pictures. This is what you should do:

  1. Make a photograph of something that is supposed to be happy, and you should make it seem sad.

  2. Make a photograph of something that is supposed to be sad , and make it seem beautiful.

  3. Make a photograph of something that is normal and make it seem shocking

  4. Make a photograph of something that you want the world to know about and make it urgent.

The “rules” for this challenge are the same as always 🙂  We will work with the challenge for about two weeks and then we, at least Shelly and I, will present our results hear on Stuck in Plastic. Good luck and I hope you will join us in this latest challenge.


The next challenge – can photographs tell the truth?

It’s my turn to pick a new challenge from The Photographers Playbook. This challenge is called “truth and dare” and is written by Gregory Halpern. The challenge is to

“Make a short series of purely object photographs.”

And what we shall ask our self is if photographs can tell the truth? Or as Halden put’s it:

“We know photographs can “lie”. Is it possible for them to tell the truth?”

I’m really looking forward to see what comes out of this challenge. I’m already wondering: how does a purely objective photograph look like? And can I do one? I don’t know but I’m looking forward to try.

A new challenge: sum of the parts

I’m super excited for this new challenge which is aptly named: Sum of the Parts. And its pretty much exactly what it implies:

“Make two photographs that you feel convey a particular subject when they are viewed together, but that do not convey the same subject when they are viewed separately. This is a way of including the viewer in the creation of meaning in your work. The subject could be an experience, idea, piece of writing, or word.” Carlo Van de Roer, The Photographer’s Playbook

Continue reading A new challenge: sum of the parts

An exact copy with an absurdist twist

A couple of weeks ago Kristina challenged me to make an exact copy of a photograph by one of my favorite photographers. This simple challenge took me down a very different path than Kristina.

I understand the premise of learning by emulation, and I realize it’s a popular method towards mastery of photography, but it’s a method that makes me very uncomfortable. I have seen too many cases of emulation (especially in the toy photography community) that turn into ownership, to purposefully walk down that road. Continue reading An exact copy with an absurdist twist

Make an exact copy of a photograph – a photo challenge

We started a new series of photo-challenges here on SiP when Shelly asked me (and herself) to write about our work. This time it’s my turn to look in The Photographers Playbook and choose a challenge. I thought I would take one that involves photographing this time 😉 The assignment I have chosen is one by Takashi Homma, and at first glance it may seem easy, but I think we’ll struggle with this one, because of my experience of trying to make photographs like the photographs I admire. Continue reading Make an exact copy of a photograph – a photo challenge

A different type of Photo Challenge

When Kristina was visiting in Seattle for the opening of the latest StuckinPlastic exhibition an idea for a different type of photo challenge was born.  We had plenty of time to chat and we realized that we both like to challenge ourselves in the most esoteric ways. It also seems that we both have The Photographer’s Playbook by the Aperture Foundation. Soon an idea was born. We came up with a different type of photo challenge for ourselves, our fellow blog mates (if they choose to participate) and for you.

These challenges are based on The Photographer’s Playbook which is a series of photo assignments and ideas aimed at getting the reader to think about photography in new ways. They are also designed to kick all of us out of those safe, comfortable habits we so often fall back into.

After finishing my best of 2015 photo book I realized I really want to pair my photographs with words. Right now I pair them with inspirational quotes and this has been satisfying up to a point.  Now I want to push myself to go beyond other peoples words and incorporate my own text with my photographs. I am a big admirer of Darryl Jones and Matt Rhodes and how they incorporate stories, poems and anecdotes about their characters. Their words add a richness to their photographs and enhance my enjoyment of their work.

So in honor of that goal Kristina and I have decided that our first challenge would be: Words and Photographs.

“For this assignment, print one of your photographs on one half of a sheet of paper. On the other half, write something about the picture. The key is to write something that doesn’t destroy the magic of the photograph. Write in a straightforward way. Do not use adjectives or fancy words. Do not explain the picture; enhance it.

Once you are done, fold the piece of paper in half. Is the picture better without the writing? If so, repeat the assignment with different photographs until you’ve made a combination that is more than the sum of its parts. ” – Alex Sloth, The Photographer’s Playbook

This assignment excites me because this is exactly what I want to be creating with my photography: words with photos where the sum is greater than the parts.

Kristina and I have given each other two weeks to complete one successful combination and to report back here about the process. This is a challenge open to all who want to participate. If it goes well and we are successfully pushed outside of our safety zone, or inspire you, then we will try this again. In the mean time, I am going to put my thinking cap on and see if I can find an older image that could benefit from a few words.

~ xxSJC

I realize that now is a very busy time for most of us, so this may not be the best time to launch a new challenge. Perhaps you would like to sit this one out and see how we do? Maybe you are game from the get go?  I would love to hear your reaction to this latest challenge. 

Brown Bear Fishing (edited)
Is this image in need of a story, a poem or a personal anecdote to give it more content? Perhaps.