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’!