I took Kristina’s challenge of making an exact copy of a photo because it was something I have been wanting to do for a long time. Shelly’s latest challenge “sum of the parts” was about storytelling with two pictures. Even though I’m usually not the kind of person to partake in new year’s resolutions, I decided that in 2016 I was going to work on my storytelling in order to try to find my own red thread in my photographs. So this latest challenge was something I definitely had to do as it would force me to spend time thinking about the story rather than the photos.

After I’d been struggling to find an idea for two weeks, Kristina published her result and confirmed some of the fears that had started to grow in me. I was pretty sure that both Kristina and Shelly were going to come up with something much more thoughtful than I would. I wanted to use this latest challenge to push me further and move beyond  any obvious ideas. But I was asking too much of myself.

I decided to loosen the constraints and moved to the obvious ideas. In the past two weeks I had had plenty of time to find obvious ideas. Now I only had to “simply” choose the most appropriate one. It took me another two days to decide which idea to use, shoot it and post-process it so it was ready to publish.

Multiple of those ideas didn’t work out in terms of composition and framing but finally I decided to do a prequel to one of my latest shots “Yoda and Master Uggla” showing how Yoda acquired a mouse to befriend an owl. Yet I decided to not rush in and directly publish it. In many ways I was not satisfied with it. I understood the challenge as “tell three stories with only two pictures” but I have the feeling that my photos are actually telling a single story in two pictures. I also feel I cheated because these two pictures fit in a broader series of photos.

Last challenge at stuckinplastic.com is about making a "sum of the parts" picture: take two photos that each tell a story and that can be combined to tell another one. I found this challenge harder than I initially thought. I had plenty of ideas but none of them worked as I'd like. Finally I decided to do a prequel to "Ÿoda and Mister Owl" showing how Yoda acquired a mouse for the Mister Owl. The white wall was built with LEGO bricks. Once the photo on my computer I didn't like its look so I erased the joints between the bricks to make it look like a plain white wall. It's the first time I do so much editing on a photo.

Reiterlied Ypda and Owl

Initially I had many reason to consider this challenge unsuccessful for me. But when I read Shelly post about her own two photos something I did not see came to my mind. I pondered why am I taking these photos with Master Yoda? First I thought it’s simply because it’s both fun and funny. Indeed I think I never laughed that much while taking pictures and looking at them. But now I wonder if there isn’t something more serious deep inside them? Like Shelly says, some kind of “universal truth”, a “reflection on the human condition” or “comment on the world we live in”?

I can’t really explain it but I think I might have finally found a red thread of mine. Maybe in a few weeks I’ll realize I’m out of photo ideas and this will be one among the few other series I tried but did not successfully take further. Or maybe laughing and having fun was enough?

This time again I feel I’ve grown from this challenge, maybe even more so than for the previous one. To sum it up I can almost quote Shelly to the identical: “I’m grateful to these photo challenges, as well as to the inspiration Kristina (and Shelly, and many other people from SiP or the toy community) have given me, that has allowed me to take the next step on this personal road of artistic growth.”

I feel so enthusiast about what I’ve learned and discovered that I definitely want to continue following Shelly and Kristina on this epic adventure they started with these challenges. I highly recommend for anyone to try one of these (past, present or future) challenges. In particular if you want to improve your photography and, like me, don’t necessarily know how to do it. Or if like Kristina, Captain Kaos and Shelly you look for something more than likes on social networks. From my own experience I know these challenges can be really time consuming, but they are definitely worth it!

~ Reiterlied