2019 WEEK 14: Titles

We’re taking a different approach to the photo challenge this week. I recently returned from a photography workshop with Colleen Miniuk-Sperry where my personal challenge was to be more creative with my photographic process – not in terms of camera techniques, but rather in terms of mindset. In particular, Colleen encouraged me to focus on the story within an image I wanted to capture.

The Angst of Life by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero
The Angst of Life by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero

The backstory: I noticed this tree in the landscape and got excited about the possibility of capturing a sunburst coming through the top of the tree. As I was explaining my plan to Colleen, she stopped me and said, “That sounds like a beautiful and technically perfect photo, but what’s the story?” In exasperation and grasping at straws for any inkling of a story, I pointed to the gnarled trunk and said, “That right there is the angst of life.” (I may or may not have said this with a bit of melodrama.) I had said it as mostly a joke, but her response was, “See? It’s that easy!”

The point of this photo challenge is to move beyond technical excellence and perfect composition to exercise the creative side of our brains. So this week I want to challenge your thought process before you take a photo. I want you to find something that compels you to take a photo, but stop before you press the shutter button and ask yourself:

  • What’s the story here?
  • What emotion does the scene evoke in me?
  • What memory arises?
  • What is the relationship between the different elements in the photo?
  • What does this image mean to me?

Then use the answers to one or more of those questions to come up with a title for that story before you take the photo (which is something Colleen does for her own photos). The title helps inform what you choose to emphasize in your photo, what you choose to leave out of the frame, etc.

If you need ideas for finding something to take a photo of, these previous photo challenges might help get you in the right mindset for this week’s challenge:

To recap:

  • Focus on “why” you are taking your photo this week. What is the story you are trying to tell?
  • Come up with the title for your photo before you press the shutter button and include that title when you post your photo.
  • Post your photo during the week of Sunday, Mar 31 and Saturday, Apr 6.
  • Please remember to comment on at least FIVE photo submissions this week by answering the question “why?” in your comments. In other words, “why do I like (or not like) this photo?” or “why did this photo catch my eye?” Thank you!

The friendly community guidelines are pretty simple:

  • Take a new photo for the current weekly theme, not something from your back catalog or someone else’s image.
  • Post your photo each week to our active communities on Facebook or Flickr (or both). Tag the photo:  #2019photochallenge #photochallenge #tempusaura
  • Don’t leave home without your camera. Participating in the 2019 Trevor Carpenter Photo Challenge is fun and easy.

About thedigitaljeanie

I’m a self-taught photographer and way back when I used to love taking photos, but I allowed a business that I started in 2004 to take over my life and my photographic repertoire was reduced to quick product shots and how-to tutorials. When I joined the PhotoChallenge in December 2015, I was looking to rekindle my creativity and bring some joy back into my photography. I jumped in with both feet and have not looked back. I believe that photography can change the way we see and interact with the world around us. Some people may think that I hide behind the camera, but I feel that I experience the world in a much more intimate way when I am creating a composition in my viewfinder. In those moments distractions disappear, my mind focuses and I am fully present. It is just me and my camera capturing a moment in time that might otherwise go unnoticed. My background is as varied as the photos that I take. I’ve trained and worked as a software engineer, a massage therapist, an English teacher in Vietnam, a photo restoration artist (which is how I learned Photoshop) and for the past twelve years I have run a small software business with my husband where I have been published in numerous books and magazines, appeared on PBS television, created designs for fabric, quilts and machine embroidery and won awards for some of my quilts. It should come as no surprise that I am intensely curious about life and love to learn new things. I am blessed to live in the beautiful state of Colorado, USA in the Rocky Mountain foothills outside of Fort Collins with my husband and cat. You can find me online at: Photos: flickr.com/photos/the-digital-jeanie/ Day job: KaleidoscopeCollections.com Facebook: facebook.com/jeaniesa