We are back with assignments! In order to be more consistent with our assignments we are going to be doing one assignment per month. We’ll announce the new assignment around the first of each month and you’ll have the month to go out and create NEW work. Share your work with us on Flickr, 500px, or instagram. Hashtag your photos #DEDPXL08 and we’ll do a group critique at the end of each assignment.

This month it’s all about embracing the winter funk and making something out of it. Here in the northern hemisphere it’s cold and dark and grey. That is the inspiration for this assignment. To hell with Valentine’s Day!

I have found that when I’m deep in a funk the very best thing I can do to get out of that funk is to go make something. The act of making something, anything, is cathartic. Don’t just sit in your shit and feel sorry for yourself.

Get your ass up. Go make something. And you know what? Make ANYTHING this month and share it with us. Want to make a B&W painting? Do it. Want to make a B&W video? Make that. Make it moody. Make it B&W. Submit a photo or screen shot of whatever you make and post that to Flickr, 500px, or IG with the #DEDPXL08 hashtag and a link to whatever you make so we can find it.

Dark, moody, B&W photos is what we want to see from you this month. Your goal is to capture an emotion. Make us feel something with your photographs this month. Connect with us. This isn’t about making technically perfect photos this month. Blow your focus. Underexpose. Experiment. If you are unable to come up with something think about these words and phrases and see if they spark some ideas ::

  • Depression
  • Dark
  • Quiet
  • Unrequited love
  • Longing
  • Hushed
  • Regret
  • Lost
  • Broken
  • Stillness
  • Lost in thought
  • Penssive


You can submit new work and NEW work only. Stay out of your damn archives. You will never become a better artist without getting out there and making new work.

If you have any questions or you’d like to add to this list of words then hit us in the comments below.


PS – CLEAN black and white only. No sepia or toning of any kind. Keep it clean, simple, and black and white.

Zack Arias

A full time commercial and editorial photographer, Zack shoots everything from bands to CEOs to ad campaigns. A gifted teacher and communicator, he has an uncanny ability to meet and connect with all types of people.

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  1. Dave

    Welcome back Zack.

    This will be great to help deal with the miserable Wisconsin winter…

    • Zack Arias

      Miserable – That’s a great key word! 🙂


      • Chris

        Wisconsin – another good keyword! 🙂

        • Talia


  2. Neil

    Hey glad to see the next assignment is up. Have you considered charging a minimal entry fee for these assignments (maybe a dollar, or a “pound” where I live)? That would sift out a few of the half hearted entries, and go a small way to paying for the time you spend on running them.

    • Zack Arias

      Love the idea! 🙂

      Implementing it and managing it would probably cost $2. Know what I mean?

      Sara Lando has a good way of handling this for a small group of people she works with. If you don’t submit your assignment you have to pay her. That’s smart thinking right there.


      • Simon

        Sounds like those “all you can eat” buffet that charge you extra if you leave somthing on your plate.

        Smart! I think Sara might be perfect….that’s annoying.

      • David

        You could use patreon.com like some of the podcasts I listen to.

  3. adam bucci

    great. after watching noir zack i look outside to find a beautiful blue sky with a sun that’s only missing the laughing baby from the teletubbies.

    nothing gloomy here, not even after putting the trusty x100s on bw/y. it still looks like the teletubbies, only circa 1960.

    this will be a fun, challenging assignment.

    • Zack Arias

      You are to find the black as night teletubbie. As black as your soul! 🙂


      • adam bucci

        in vegas, i wouldn’t surprised if i did

  4. Shane

    Another damn assignment. Sigh. Hmm — maybe it’s time to use just one light? And grid the hell out of it?

    • Zack Arias

      Good place to start!


  5. Lou

    Welcome back, Noir Arias.

    gloomy, suffering, sorrowful, tragic, heartbroken, troubled, tortured……….life.

    • Zack Arias

      Good additions. Thank you!


  6. Patrick

    Can we add “melancholia” to the list please?
    Glad you’re back Zack – I look forward to all the challenges. Onward!

  7. Roger

    Any room for bright, sunny and joyful? Here in Los Angeles, California we don’t get much of a winter…time to get creative!

    • Zack Arias

      NO! No happy photos this month. It’s all about something darker. 🙂


  8. Eve

    Hey Zack! I post the comment I left on G+ here as well. I asked there if you’d thought about hosting the pics for the assignment here on your website? Might make things easier for you and Meg (I hope I got that right). I don’t know, though, if that would burst the limits of the site.

    • DEDPXL Admin

      @Eve – A member of the DEDPXL community is helping us with a system that will pull in all of the social media images tagged with our hashtags, it’s in the early stages but it is definitely something we’ve thought about and want to bring into DEDPXL.

      Hopefully we can have that out in the sooner rather than later!

  9. Jin

    Perfect! Been looking forward to an assignment for a while! Is there still a 2 photo submission limit?

    • Zack Arias

      On Flickr it’s two per week right now.


  10. GavinOz

    Looking at the keywords, so glad I live in Australia!

    • Zack Arias

      Be gone with all those positive words!!! Ugh. No. Lonely. Depressing. Grey. We can get to your list later in the year. 🙂


    • Andy

      So, just to help inspire you mate, think of the opposite – skin cancer, drowning and depression. There is so much beauty in the darkness.

  11. JT

    Bummer. Its been about 30C (86F) today here in ADL and it’s alleged by the weather bureau that it will be about 39C (102F) tomorrow and we don’t expect to see a max temp below 34C for the next week.
    Bright (real bright) blue skies, high sun, lots of flat glary light.
    Most people are unbearably cheerful.
    Damn you equator.

    Still on the upside really long shadows in the late afternoon, and I’m happy as Larry (apparently Larry is a VERY happy chap) that the game is back on.

    So hello Zack, Meg, Carl and all the other pxlers, old and new, can’t wait to see your work.

  12. Sewing Faille

    Can we go with “hatred”? Because I am definitely feeling hatred. The weather has pushed me out of indifference into a full-blown hatemonger. First, we got a blizzard which dumped 24 inches of snow on us. Then we got another 12 inches of snow. We’re supposed to get another 5 inches of snow today.

    I hate snow.

    I hate MORE snow.

    I hate dirty piles of snow that are taller than I am.

    I hate the T for STILL not working.

    I hate my hour-long walk to work.

    I hate people who don’t shovel their sidewalks.

    I hate falling into snowbanks over, and over, and over, and over again.

    I hate cold, wet socks.

    I hate how this town has made me think of 34 degrees F as “warm.”

    You understand my predicament– no “pensive,” “quiet,” “stillness” for me. I just want to go PUNCH THE HECK OUT OF A SNOWBANK!!!

    • Zack Arias

      Yes! Turn that hate into some art. Make something of it. Absolutely!


    • Richard Wintle

      Hm. Snow is white. That’s a problem… not dark and moody enough!

      Our crappy overcast here in southern Ontario seems to have given way to watery sunlight… but I have faith it will return. 😉

      Glad to see a new #DEDPXL assignment. Onwards!

    • James

      Sounds like you are from the same area as me. If that is the case we’ve got another 12-18 coming this Sunday!! good times, good times.

  13. Tim

    Will indoor sports work?

  14. Jeff Weeks

    Thanks man. I need something like this to jumpstart my frozen ass. When a 20 degree day feels warm on your skin, you probably live in a place that fosters hibernation during the winter. This will help break the cycle of feeling fat-dumb-and-sorry-for-myself. And I’m glad you’re back.

  15. Kesha Walk-Pom

    So excited to participate! Please soak up some of that ATL sunshine and send it to Michigan!

  16. Iain



  17. adam bucci

    tis wouldn’t have anything to do with Fifty Shades of Grey opening this month would it?

  18. Daf

    Woo – now this is a theme I can do.
    May just be time to join 500px – on instagram but the format has it’s limitations.

  19. Xavier Veys

    excellent choice of assignment, it happens to fit right in my new obsession with darkroom BW printing!
    I’m trying to photograph and print as much BW as I can in my limited free time now, let’s try and tie the random shooting to a moody concept idea.

    Thanks for the extra push in the back!

  20. Holden

    So time to break out the shoegaze, and walk around the older places in this town…

  21. Tom Rabel

    When is the deadline to submit for dedpxl08?


  22. jack b nimble

    you have a typo: pensive, not penssive

    (i’m pretty sure)

    (maybe it’s not so black and white)

  23. jack b nimble

    oh, in addition to my last useless comment, love your intro video. well done, dig the last couple of shots. you’re fun, you’re zack and you’re BACK!


    hey, what about you and YOUR work? anything new that you can share?

  24. Julien James Auzan

    Dear Zack,

    Love the website, what you do, and the assignment too! Working on this topic does get me out of that February funk! 🙂

    Quick question: I currently don’t use 500px or Flickr. Is Instagram “enough” or should I consider (finally) putting my stuff on one of these web services? I have especially one pic out of the three I posted last weekend (@jauzan), which ought to be viewed in a somewhat bigger resolution than that of an iPhone screen, although viewing it from the web app is somehow ok.

    Also, is there a limit to what can be posted (well… hashtagged) on IG?

    J. J.

  25. James

    Quiet, Hushed, Stillness???? I have kids I am not familiar with these terms?! 🙂

  26. Arėjukas

    Hi Zach, I like your stuff, but haven’t commented before. The moody black monochrome theme caught my eye, so I uploaded a couple film-noir-esque pics for your Flickr pool (DEDPXL08).

    I kind of was imagining film stills from a close-up roll at the beginning of some old Orson Welles flick, maybe one like Lady from Shanghai. After one of these shots establishes some detail that will play into the plot later, the camera pulls out to show the fedora wearing, wool overcoat clad protogonist walking into the scene.

    Here’s a link to the Flickr album.


    Not sure if you need this in addition to your automated hashtag search.

    BTW, I really prefer these with a subtle brown-tone of old prints that sat in a chest oxidizing over several decades until someone found them — to add some nostalgia to the noir. Since you said no toning, I went with de-toned versions for the critique.


  27. David

    Hi Zack!
    Thanks for the challenge! Accepted.
    Since i suffer from bad winter depression too, it’s got to have something to do that matters a bit.

    Are we allowed to submit more than one image? What’s the maximum? 😀

    Cheers from germany

    • Zack Arias

      Whatever amount. Flickr is capped at two per week. No cap on the other’s.


  28. Csaba Molnar

    Hi Zack. One of the things I decided last year was to follow these assignments. Alas, I missed this one. Funny thing is, I was working on my own personal project, and it’s exactly the opposite of this assignment. Photographing sunshine at my favourite place in Saigon.

    It’s inspired by the poetry of classic chrome and the way the x100t renders flare, as well as the place itself. This venue, Saigon Outcast, is a creative hotspot for musicians, graphic artists, street artists, creative types, the Saigon underground art scene. So I called this my Sunshine Outcast project. Although not a goal initially, I started sending out these to my friends living in the north. A bit of sunshine for the moody days of winter. So here’s a bit of sunshine for you, hope you enjoy it. And March is around the corner 😉

    I’ll be checking back for the March assignment – thank you for your inspiring articles and stuff 😉

    • Zack Arias

      Pretty Awesome Csaba!


  29. Martin U

    Thanks a lot, Zack! I was hoping a long time to find something like these assignments to get myself to experiment more. Can’t wait to get out of this damn soul-consuming office and try my best to rock this assignment.
    This screams for grids and suicidal thoughts.

    • Zack Arias

      Glad to have you on board Martin!


  30. Arne Bosselmann

    Hi Zack,

    i´m following your channel for a while and made my first entry for this assignment.
    I thought i could only post one picture. (i used 500px) Next time i know it better and can dive deeper into the assignment.
    As a beginner such assignments are a great way to try different things and perhaps get some feedback.
    Thank you for your honesty and great work.

    greetings from Hamburg,

  31. Jonathan

    It is a mystery to me why you did not call this round “The Ded Of Winter” 😀

    • Zack Arias

      Damn it! That would have been perfect!


  32. Tim

    Just submitted my image. Really looking forward to being part of all this in 2015. Thanks to you Zac (& family) for investing so much time and thought into this process/fun.

  33. Raffaella

    I have only just discovered this site. Beautiful assignments themes!
    There is still time for this in B & W?
    What size should have photos?
    Okay 1200 px on the long side?

    • Raffaella

      I’m writing from Italy, and now I’m going to sleep…
      I will read your answer tomorrow (for me!) 🙂

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