Saturday, 31 January 2015

Challenge be gone

So I've done it. The 30 days have been and my January of carting my camera wherever I go is finished. Now I will have no excuse for avoiding all the dull but necessary things to be done that surround me. The 30 day photography challenge that I found on Pinterest has been great in so many ways, but I must confess I am glad it is finished. This week has not had the best of themes and some of them have consumed my day. But if it was easy, it wouldn't be a challenge, would it? It's interesting how many times I've gone out with something in mind to fit the theme, and actually another photo that was taken that day would fit the bill better than the grand plan had.

Would you like to see my final ten? Well here you are...

Day 21: Faceless self portrait. I was for a second or two tempted to try some naked body parts but couldn't think of any areas I'd be happy for you to see. I tried a terribly unflattering shot looking in the fridge with my head cropped off. In the end I tried to sum myself up with something smaller...

Day 22: Inspirational. For this one I had always fully intended to do a little homage to Malka Dubrawsky, who always manages to chirp up my world with the brightest funkiest batik patchwork fabric patterns, bursting with sunlight. But I couldn't do them justice and actually there is something amazing and ever-changing outside calling to me every day at the moment to take ever more photos...

Day 23: Patterns. I knew this one would be a doddle. I was meeting with my lovely monthly group at Clevedon Craft Centre, we would be doing art of some sort and something beautiful would materialise. In fact it was the materials that materialised, in the form of a gorgeous box of crayons in the sun, that somehow seemed more fun when they were out of focus:

Day 24: Animal. Yes, I could have bothered the cat again. Or I could have tried to capture the essence of the stick insects (which isn't easy, I have previously tried. Smallest child recently wrote out a schedule for a family talent show and their only talent was "standing still" for several hours). It was a Saturday and the children needed some exercise, so this was my feeble excuse for a trip to the city farm...

Day 25: Strangers. Just the worst. Really not comfortable. I think I'm too English for this one. I spent a morning rushing out snaps, most not properly focussed as I didn't want to be spotted. There were lots. Mostly rubbish. This was the most in focus, and, I hope, the one that tells a little story: why are they looking in that direction?

Day 26: Close up. Aha, back in the comfort zone. Slap on the macro lens, quick trip to the shops to buy some flowers, get the ones with the reduced label. Anemones always make me think of my mum, who loved them; I tried to plant some in my garden a couple of years ago but couldn't bring myself to bury them in the ground.

Day 27: Celebration. It felt a little odd trying to stage something that could be construed as a celebration, at 9:30 in the morning on a grey day after the school run, with just an old bottle of French cider and a light on.

Day 28: Flowers. Ah, I hadn't spotted that a couple of days before. So out come the reduced flowers from the close up challenge again, still hanging on to their uprightness for a few more hours.

Day 29: Black and white. Daughter says "Easy, do a cow." I tell her I don't know where to find a cow, and she reminds me of the calves we saw at the city farm a few days before, as if I am an idiot. I explain that I can just do a monochrome picture of something coloured but she won't have it. So I drop her at school and head off for my grand plan, into Bristol for a gritty bridge, some graffiti, something dramatic. I find the bridge and after several rushed and unfocused pictures while I'm dodging the tutting cyclists, it is a no hoper. I mutter to myself while trudging along the road towards... the city farm. And of course the calves are inside, not a hope of a picture. Luckily a sheep is too stupid to get worried and move when I'm spending minutes poking my zoom lens at it.

Day 30: Self portrait. Oh dear. This one has been bothering me for several days. Interesting that the two most bothersome challenges have been the people I don't know, and the person I know the best. I plan on a good night's sleep to iron out the wrinkles beforehand. But I hadn't bargained on getting up twice in the night for a feverish child and a husband who gets up extraordinarily at 4.30 to welcome a new machine at his work. This was never going to be easy. And in the end, I had an interesting self-realisation. I took hundreds. And guess what? I cannot stand any pictures that feature my mouth. What is it about that strange slit just above my chin? Where are the full and luscious lips I have in my imagination? Thin and mean, or lopsided, gormless, mocking or just plain silly. It's got to go. And then, once I have a few I feel OK about, I wonder about a little bit of editing. Surprising how easy it is. A couple of minutes and I can rub out all sign of those bags under the eyes. That's better, if a little odd. Have a little go at getting rid of the crow's feet... then suddenly I am not me any more. It is wrong. Weirdly husband says it looks like a boy - interesting, are my wrinkles womanly? So back to square one, here I am in full unedited glory, bags, wrinkles and all...

If you too feel like doing the challenge (and I would heartily recommend it), here is what I found, but do let me see the results:

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