“An interesting plainness is the most difficult and precious thing to achieve.” -Ludwig Mies van der Rohe (Architect)
I read this quote recently and thought it would make for an interesting photo challenge. There are of course many ways to interpret this quote and I encourage you to be creative. That said, this is a B&W challenge, so you’ll need to focus on composition, perspective and lighting to make your subject “interesting”.
One idea that came to mind after reading the quote was of common objects arranged in a unique way. For example, a stack of Post-It Notes (above) were fanned into an interesting composition and further enhanced by the play of light and a shallow depth-of-field. In the photo below, a set of pencils were arranged to create a beautiful pattern with reflections providing radiating spokes.
Bringing out the texture of an object that is normally thought of as smooth can make it more interesting. The following close-up of a softball highlights not only the texture of the leather, but also the texture of the thread which looks much coarser in this macro image than it feels in real life.
Another way to make a common subject interesting is a unique perspective. This image of a powerline tower is unique because we usually don’t walk beneath them to see this view.
The nice thing about common objects is that they can be found anywhere. The trick is figuring out how to make them interesting. This photo of stacked plastic chairs is interesting not only because of the texture and shading, but also the way they were abstracted by photographing just the arms of the chairs – not the entire chair.
Don’t forget our first B&W challenge this year: Finding the Light. Sometimes it’s the light that makes an ordinary object more interesting. The following image came about as I was unpacking a new set of pots and pans and I noticed how they reflected the overhead lights in our kitchen.
I encourage you to spend some time this week simply noticing the objects that you see every day before you take any photos. Perhaps there is something that you pass every day on the way to work. Or something in your kitchen that you use every day without thinking about it. Or a child’s toy. Whatever it is you decide to photograph, I want you to spend some time with it before photographing it. How does it change in different light? How many different perspectives can you discover? Macro or wide angle, i.e. how does a different focal length change the way you see the object? As always, pay attention to proper exposure, composition and focus.
This week’s challenge:
- Take a photo of a plain or common subject, but make it interesting through the use of positioning, perspective, lighting, repetition, abstraction, or anything else you can think of.
- Your final image should be a B&W grayscale image. You can come to that image any way that you would like from capturing B&W in camera to converting in post-processing.
- Don’t forget about proper exposure and contrast which are especially important in a B&W image.
The friendly community guidelines are pretty simple:
- Post one original photograph (Your Image) shot each week per theme posted on this blog to our active community on our Facebook Group, Flickr Groupor 500PX group (or all three). Tag the photo: #10thanniversaryphotochallenge #2018photochallenge #photochallenge #tempusaura
- The shot should be a new shot you took for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
- Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2018 Trevor Carpenter Photo Challenge is fun and easy.