For the past week or so you may have noticed that Facebook, in particular, has been awash with the Five Day Black and White Challenge, where friends post a new picture each day that they have either taken in black and white or have digitally altered a colour photo that they have – there were few rules other than that already stated, so really there shouldn’t be any great pressure. Not like the horrendous, infamous Ice Bucket Challenge that swept cyberspace recently – now that was the antithesis of how this photography challenge has been. I refused to partake in the IBC, which whilst initially being devised to raise a) money and b) awareness for a very worthy cause, I felt that it rapidly degenerated into a ridiculous free-for-all that meant very, very little to some of the people who took part. Not all, of course; I am very aware that a good many of the people that I know personally who undertook the challenge, did so in the full understanding of the significance of the ice on the central nervous system but I would still ask many of the people who did have a go, to name the illness they were purporting to support, (without looking it up online) a few months on from their dunking. For those who simply cannot recall it was in support of ALS and you can refresh your memory here if you need to.
I’m not saying that participation in the IBC was a bad thing, far from it, but there was a significant level of pressure to follow the crowd with that one, which is something I have always resisted, even when it’s good for me. I am rather bloody-minded sometimes.
That’s why I liked the B&W Photo Challenge. For me at least, I can say that I felt no pressure in the challenge at all – I was truly honoured when my friend from America nominated me, given his impressive photographic achievements, it felt like a nod from a magnificent mentor and I was all agog for trawling through my stash of nearly 20,000 photographs that I have stored on my computer, taken by me. Actually, that took me rather by surprise to start with – I have captured so many more photos than I had realised! And that figure doesn’t include the ones I have stored on various external media either… I’m almost beginning to think I might be addicted to photography…
And I was indeed particularly thrilled when one of my entries was chosen to be the banner header for one of the groups I’m involved with. So pleased!
I’ve decided to pull my efforts together in one place as if I don’t, it’s entirely likely that they won’t be seen again for a long time. I enjoyed the challenge also, in part, because it gave me an opportunity to really think about some of my images. Why did I take them? What was I hoping to achieve when I snapped them? How have I enhanced the images by working in a monochromatic palette? What emotion(s) did I evoke through these images? What have I captured?
Whilst asking myself these key questions I realised something. This is what an artist does, every time they create a piece of art. Without these kinds of thoughts in an artists’ imagination, how can they create work that has meaning and resonates with others?
And that led me on to my next thought.
I think I may be an artist.
Now THAT is a REAL biggie for me people! I may have toyed with the idea before. I may have made artwork, whether as painted pictures, sculpted in various media or stitched textiles. But I’ve never really thought of that work as the work of an *Artist*. Not until now. Right now.
This is monumental!
And so, for your perusal and I hope, enjoyment, here are the five days of challenges, including my notes about why each on was chosen and published. My first recognisable art works. Yay!
I am absolutely delighted that my friend, Russell Davidson has nominated me to take part in the 5-day Black and White Photography challenge – I feel privileged to simply take part! So, for today, the first day of my challenge, I’m offering up some stormy Scarborough seas. I took this photo about a year ago, on a wild and windy day when the tide was whipped into a frenzy. I like the image because the spectral ruins of Scarborough Castle sit glowering on the clifftop, although the sun is clearly shining upon it, whilst below the dramatic swell of the sea is in full sway. I hope you like it too!
DOH! I nearly forgot to nominate a friend of mine who’s into photography too… so today I’m challenging my old hockey team-mate who is a fab-u-lous photographer, Dawn Olsen to participate – in the hopes we get some fantastic HK images too
So, it’s day 2 of my five-day photography challenge (thanks Russell Davidson!) and I’ve had a play around with a photo taken a couple of months ago in Hartlepool. For those who may not be aware, Hartlepool is a heavily industrial coastal town up on the north-eastern coast of England – off-shore wind-farming is the latest in a very long line of industries that the rest of the country has frequently shied away from. There’s a grit about Northerners, particularly Northeastern folk who have a long and proud history. I love this image because whilst it is the same sea as yesterday’s photo, today it looks like a millpond; but the sky is much more heavily laden with ferociously ominous-looking clouds, suggesting the calm before the storm perhaps? Anyway, I’d love to see your thoughts once again! Oh, and today I’d like to challenge my photographic pal from Down Under – who’s actually a yorkshireman Dave Smith – I challenge you too
And so to day 3 of my Black and White Photography challenge – thank youRussell Davidson for the nomination! Today I thought I’d take you all back in time, to yesteryear when magnificent beasts roamed this land, before Beeching sharpened his pointly little sword. The North Yorkshire Moors Railway has recently celebrated forty years as a National Heritage Railway and is a huge tourist attraction here, made even more popular of course because it featured in the Harry Potter films, as Hogsmeade Station. I like this photo because the perspective of the train snaking back along the track follows the curved line of the platform and as it was about to set off, a good head of steam was starting to billow. I am looking forward to reading your comments about it! Today I’d like to challenge another of my old friends and colleagues (he won’t like me calling him ‘old!) Ray Atkinson to join in with this challenge, from his gorgeous home in France. I can’t wait to see some of his super shots too
OK… sorry I missed day 4 yesterday, but I was a bit poorly and didn’t get to the computer so I’m pretending it is yesterday so I can post day 4’s pics now For day 4 of my Black and White Photography challenge, thanks to Russell Davidson of course, I give you this: when combing the beach on one of our walks, I often come across interesting or intriguing objects. This picture is on some rubbery organic seaweed, which in reality was a grimy colour, a dark dull green, which of course is entirely functional in nature, but isn’t particularly attractive or aesthetically pleasing. The textures though, slightly slimy, with odd patches of bumpy, rough surfaces, these were interesting and when converted to a monochromatic palette suddenly popped, creating an ethereal, other-worldly feel. I think it looks like alien dancers, weaving their frond-like bodies together in some attempt to communicate with us. OK. I know I’m a bit wHierd and should stop talking, now, and go take my tablets… Let me know what you all think please! And for day 4, I’m going to nominate a young lady whom I taught at QBS, many years ago – Katie Latter Photography – as I’d love to see what she will make of the challenge! (Perhaps her mum, Joo Lee, might let her know if this message doesn’t get directly through Thanks!) Looking forward to seeing some of those pics Katie!
And finally, I’m on day 5 of the Black and White challenge -thanks to Russell Davidson who nominated me in the first place. It seems that almost all of the Farmies are busily posting some great Black and Whites… it’s hard trying to work out who has yet to be challenged, but if I’m not mistaken, I don’t think the remarkable Lisa Dingle has, so I’m going for her today. She’s a fabulous photographer and I know there will be some gorgeous shots to come So… my parting shot is a simple one, a mere mollusc, straining for all he’s worth (I have no idea of its gender, but just go with me here people, I’m using ‘he’ just because!) I like this one because whilst just a lowly snail, this creature is clearly pushing himself as far as he possibly can, so that his tender body almost abandons his protective shell, as he reaches for his goals. His path is strewn with bumpy obstacles and irrelevant debris and detritus, but he’s definitely concentrating on achieving his goal. There may be dark days ahead, but somehow, with this ‘can do’ approach, I am rooting for him to get there, making it to his Nirvana, wherever that may be. I feel like it’s a metaphor for life. I hope you like it!
Thanks for reading once again!