Welcome to Year 7 of THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE!!! THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE was born under the name THE RANDOM WEEKLY PHOTO EXPERIMENT. It was actually originally the idea of Mike Vest. Back in the day we used to collaborate on the project with both our websites. Then, after a couple of years it had seemed to run its course, as I was lucky to get maybe 3 or 4 submissions on a good week. I decided to drop it because if people weren’t interested, I wasn’t going to put forth the effort. I got better things I can do with my Monday lunch hour. Like eating lunch. Or not being at my Computer Mine Cubicle.
After a several month hiatus, I got a few people start sending me emails or text messages about how they really missed THE RANDOM WEEKLY PHOTO EXPERIMENT. They wished I would bring it back. I remember Carla (who regularly participates) and Dawn (who regularly gives me excuses) being at the forefront of wanting it back.
So here it is. Back. I have no doubt that it is currently at its apex. I don’t even know how many weeks in a row that we have had double digit submissions. Even this week, where I have found ARCHITECTURE to usually be one of the least popular themes, we have double digit submissions.
I have my doubts that next week we will hit double digit submissions because it is a theme that takes most people out of their comfort zone, but I defy you people to prove me wrong!
But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates. You came to see the submissions:
But enough dwelling on the past. Time to look to the future. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future! This week’s theme:
STREET PHOTOGRAPHY! What a great theme! But what is a STREET PHOTOGRAPHY image? STREET PHOTOGRAPHY isn’t a picture of a STREET. STREET PHOTOGRAPHY is “conducted for art or enquiry that features unmediated chance encounters and random incidents within public places.”
The 2 most important things. RANDOM and PUBLIC. STREET PHOTOGRAPHY is often mistaken for CANDID PORTRAITS. STREET PHOTOGRAPHY has to be done in a public place. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a portrait. It can be a piece of art. It can be a building. It can be a sign. It doesn’t have to be on a street. It can be at a football game. It can be at an art festival. A political event. It only has to meet those 2 criteria: public and random.
THE WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE themes were randomly selected, but I think that there is a chance that this week being STREET PHOTOGRAPHY might have been destined. Something that might have fallen through the cracks in last week’s news was that Robert Frank passed away.
Robert Frank was one of the most influential photographers of the 20th Century. His book “The Americans” was one of the most influential photography books every published and it practically redefined STREET PHOTOGRAPHY.
Here is an excerpt from an NPR story on Robert Frank:
Influential photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank has died at the age of 94. He died of natural causes on Monday night in Nova Scotia, Canada. His death was confirmed by his longtime friend and gallerist Peter MacGill.
He was best known for his 1959 book The Americans, a collection of black-and-white photographs he took while road-tripping across the country starting in 1955. Frank’s images were dark, grainy and free from nostalgia; they showed a country at odds with the optimistic views of prosperity that characterized so much American photography at the time.
His Leica camera captured gay men in New York, factory workers in Detroit and a segregated trolley in New Orleans — sour and defiant white faces in front and the anguished face of a black man in back.
The book was savaged — mainstream critics called Frank sloppy and joyless. And Frank remembered the slights.
“The Museum of Modern Art wouldn’t even sell the book,” he told NPR for a story in 1994. “I mean, certain things, one doesn’t forget so easy. But the younger people caught on.”
Eventually, the photographs in The Americans became canon, inspiring legions. Photographer Joel Meyerowitz remembered watching Frank at work early on.
“And it was such an unbelievable and powerful experience watching him twisting, turning, bobbing, weaving,” Meyerowitz said in 1994. “And every time I heard his Leica go ‘click,’ I would see the moment freeze in front of Robert.”
I do not make this a commandment for STREET PHOTOGRAPHY, however let me suggest that when you do your STREET PHOTOGRAPHY image, you consider doing it in black & white to honor the late, great Robert Frank.
A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 RULES DIVISION
The picture has to be taken the week of the theme. This isn’t a curate your pictures challenge. This is a get your butt off the couch (my personal experience) and put your camera in your hands challenge. Don’t send me a picture of you next to the Eiffel Tower, when I know you were in Iowa all week. I will point out that I have let that slide some in the past. I will not in the future. Since it is literally about the only rule.
Your submission needs to be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org by 11 AM on the Monday of the challenge due date.
I now allow people to text me their submissions. In the past, I had made exceptions for a couple people that aren’t real computer savvy, even though it was an inconvenience for me and required at least 3 extra steps for me. I am now lifting that embargo because I have a streamline way of uploading photos. I’m not giving out my phone number, but if you have it, you can text me.
It should be pointed out that this blog auto-publishes at 12:01 on Mondays. So it wouldn’t hurt to get your picture in earlier.
That is it, them’s the rules.
A MESSAGE FROM THE PHOTOGRAPHY 139 SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION DIVISION
Nobody showed class, taste, and sophistication this week by signing up for a Photography 139 email subscription. I’ll try and do better next week.
That’s all I got for today, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will commune right here again next Monday. Hopefully it will be a very public and random Monday!