I hope you will join me as we start a series of photography assignments here on DEDPXL. First, I have to share where the inspiration for all of this has come from. There are four people who have directly impacted my decision to create this series of assignments.
I was once in conversation with photographer Joseph Stefanchik and he made a great statement. “It’s easy to teach a photographer how to shoot. It’s far more difficult to teach a photographer how to see.”
It’s important to know how to shoot a photograph. Honestly, though, that’s the easy part.
It’s more difficult to see a photograph.
I was once walking down a sidewalk next to photographer and postproduction guru, David Nightingale. He and I were walking with a group of people and he fell back from the group only to catch up with us later. The next night I was sitting next to him at a bar while he was working on an image in Photoshop. I looked at his screen and said, “What in the hell is THAT? That is amazing.”
“Oh. Remember that little statue / fountain / whatever thing we walked by last night?”
“Yeah, you walked right by it. I went back because I saw a photograph in it.”
Ten photographers walked past something. None of us saw it. David saw it. Not only did he see it with a camera and lens, he went further and saw it in Photoshop.
I was once sitting in a lecture by photographer Chris Hurtt. Chris had been a friend of mine for a few years but I had yet to hear him teach. He was giving a class about the art of seeing. It was an hour or so of Chris being awesome and funny and sharing his joy for photography.
It was a lecture about simple ideas to help new photographers delivered in a light hearted way, but it hit me like a shit ton of bricks. I was burned out. I had plateaued. I wasn’t shooting to see. I was shooting to shoot. Yeah, I could see okay but I couldn’t see like he was talking about. Chris was seeing the world. I was shooting the world. There is a difference.
I was once talking to photographer Steve Simon. He told me his new book, The Passionate Photographer, was recently released. I got the book. I read the book. And now I suggest you go buy the book too because I’ll be referencing it during the discussions we have based on these assignments. It’s a fantastic book.
I’m not going to go to deep describing these assignments. Jump in with me. No matter how elementary they may seem to you on the surface. For those of you who are as green as grass to this craft then these are going to be great for you to start building your visual muscles. For those of you who feel you have a good grasp on photography the simple assignments are going to kick your ass because of the expectations you are going to put upon yourself. Trust me. I know. I’m shooting these assignments too.
Some are going to be direct and specific. Some will be more open to interpretation. Each will build on the next. Each is designed to push and pull your eye and your vision as a photographer. Go with me on this journey. Take the pill. Let’s get to that green code of the matrix.
Watch the video above. It’s the first assignment. Lines. Lines. Lines. Lines. Lines.
I don’t care what kind of camera you shoot it with. I don’t care what lens. I don’t care what light source you use whether it be available light or lit with strobes or lit with flash lights. I don’t care. Lines is your assignment. You’ve got until March 25th to shoot NEW work for this assignment.
Share your best line images with us via the new DEDPXL assignment community on Flickr. Or share them on 500px or Twitter with the hashtag #dedpxl01 (that’s zero one) Let’s keep it to that for now so I can keep up with it. Flickr. 500px. Twitter. You can post to your own blog or the like just share the link via twitter with that hashtag. I’ll lose it on Facebook and IG in about ten seconds. I may start a G+ community as well if you are interested in that. Let’s just say Flickr is going to be the proverbial water cooler for now.
During the assignment I’ll have a post about how it’s going both for me and for those of you starting to share. Sort of a mid assignment assessment. At the end of March I’ll be doing a group critique of what worked, what didn’t, and we’ll start a conversation about lines. We will then start the new assignment and work on that for two to four weeks. We will continue this process for at least the next year. YEAR! This is long-term baby. Go with me on this. After a year you’re going to walk out in the world and you’ll be seeing more than merely shooting.
I’ll be shooting these assignments as well and sharing via the outlets mentioned above. I’ll be sharing the good, the bad, and the ugly. 🙂