12 x 12 Challenge 01

Bird with telephone wires

I’ve never been terribly on the ball when it comes to doing photo challenges or entering competitions, or otherwise making the effort to put myself out there.  Last year I got interested in the 52 x 52 photo challenge, but the photos had to be taken during the week of the challenge – no archived ones allowed – and I knew I’d never get my act together enough to get something sorted in a week.  I might have managed it once or twice, but I know myself well enough to know that I would never keep it up.  It was a shame, because the challenges were good – well thought out and interesting, rather than just asking for photos on a theme.

This year, however, it’s a 12 x 12 which means that you get a whole month to come up with something, process it, and upload it to the Flickr group.  Now, that I can do – there’s a much bigger chance of it happening, anyway.  You’re allowed to upload up to five images for each challenge, which I also like as I prefer to work in series rather than one-offs.  The challenge was this:

Take a route you’re familiar with but have never photographed along and photograph someone or something every 100 or so steps.
– Vanessa Winship

I’ve never photographed in the street where I lived, so I thought a simple walk round the block would be the way to go, especially as I’d just written a post on that theme a few days ago.  I’d had a few thoughts about what might work, but mostly I wanted to allow whatever presented itself to become my subject.  I also didn’t want to produce random shots, but a small collection that would hang together in some way.

I’m a little obsessed with skies at the moment – I think looking into the sky has become my substitute for gazing out to sea – so I found myself looking up a lot, and every time I did I saw telephone wires. After a while, the gracefulness of the lines began to speak to me.  Initially I took lots of images where the tops of the telephone poles were included, because I thought these looked interesting due to the complex arrangement of lines where they joined the pole, but somehow these didn’t work so well.  I began experimenting with the framing, and decided in the end that very simple arrangements of lines with the sky behind them had a minimalism that was quite effective.  And of course, I had to do one with a tree.

I’m not sure that any one of these images holds enough interest on its own, but I do feel they work well as a set.  I’ve posted them on Flickr, and if you go to the album page you can see them all at once on the page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gillywalker/sets/72157651234617419/  This was my final selection of five – I took loads more, and I spent longer narrowing them down than I did taking them.

I didn’t use up much time on this at all – I was out walking for maybe half an hour at most – and it was surprisingly enjoyable.  I’m looking forward to seeing what the second challenge is – with a little voice in the back of my head going ‘please don’t let it be portraits’!


Sky with converging telephone lines

Sky with telephone lines

Tree with telephone lines

Dramatic sky with telephone lines