• Kim Youdan

7 Week Photography Challenge

Two months in Gran Canaria away from my loft studio meant I was in need of a project to keep my mind thinking and creativity flowing. Introducing the 7 week Photography Challenge where I embark on different projects to get me thinking and shooting in ways I haven't done in quite some time.

This post is a round up, a video collating all the awkward filming and my evaluation and takeawaus from each project.

Challenge 1 - Bench

Kicking off the Photography Challenge with an assignment from 'The Photographers Playbook' where Alexandra Sanguinetti takes 36 photos of a park bench.

This intrigued me and yes it sounded a little juvenile, like a school project, but I wanted to test my creativity and see where it took me.

First of all I had to find the bench! The object itself in a surrounding that inspired me, with one week to complete I couldn't be too picky and settled on an area where I thought people may gather.

The photography was fun but it was the thought process that really had a lasting effect. I considered the built environment and how it enables our lifestyles. How a simple bench in an unremarkable place can facilitate a moment of peace, a place to rest, a seat to connect with others. There is no conclusion to my thought process but this challenge certainly got me thinking in a way that was unexpected before I started.

Bench Project Takeaway - More aware of the built environment and how people use space within a city.

Challenge 2 - Shape of Vegueta

This project -inspired by the image-based sculptural work of Brandon Lattu- was an experiment in the post production phase of my work. I wanted to experiment with the traditional dimensions of photography and I wanted some lovely architectural photography to play with.

I started wandering the streets of Old Town Las Palmas to find interesting angles and alternative view points. I had photographed here before for my hand-painted photography practice, this time I wanted a little more from the outcome.

The photography itself wasn't different enough, I needed another element to the composition so I started to add blocks of colour. The contrast and cut-off shapes make an interesting aesthetic, more architectural and fun! I certainly saw my design influence in this work and it's inspired me to think more about creating alternative artwork in the future - exciting!

Shape of Vegueta Takeaway - Creating compositions of block colour and photography combines my love of design and photography - must do more of it.

Challenge 3 - Terracotta Red

In this project I set two clear boundaries: I could only take 10 photographs and they all had to include terracotta red.

Inspired by another assignment from 'The Photographers Playbook' from Gus Powell, named 'Picasso's Blue Period' (check out the video for more of an insight).

I changed this up a bit - now named 'Kim's Terracotta Red'. This one really opened my eyes and fed into the RAS (reticular activating system) suddenly EVERYTHING was terracotta red. Due to the limitations of only 10 images I did have to restrain myself. I don't love all of the outcomes here but the project certainly made me think more carefully about composing images in a singular moment.

Terracotta Red Takeaway - Considering the outcome and composition before shooting is a life long lesson in photography, this project really homed in on that concept, how and why I take the images I do.

Challenge 4 - One Photograph, Three Names

This one was inspired by my new found love of the English language and how words can have a big effect on the way we see things.

The project made me think more about the concept of 'when someone looks at an image they always think of themselves' which I read recently (the source will come to me!). It's so true isn't it? With our individual set of life experience's no two people will ever view an image in exactly the same way. With the added context of words connected to the image, how does this change things?

I wanted to influence the viewer by playing with the words associated with the image. Take a look below and consider the following: What title resonates the most with you? What makes you think more? What title creates intrigue? What creates more meaning for you?

1 - Docks #7

2 - Blue. Blue. Bright Blue.

3 - He sits. He rarely sails...

One Photograph, Three Names Takeaway - Understanding more about the relationship of words and imagery, how my life experience shapes my judgement and outlook on life.

Challenge 5 - Self Portrait

This was the scary one! When I arrived on the island and I embarked on the Photograph Challenge, 'self portrait' popped into my head...it had to happen! Yes, I waited 5 weeks to do it, 5 weeks to muster the courage, 5 weeks to get on the other side of the camera.

I focused on using the Canon app and remembered what I tell my portrait clients when they're feeling nervous!

Figuring out how to position myself is much harder than telling someone else how to do it and I actually ended up enjoying the process!

Self Portrait Takeaway - I enjoyed this, does that make me narcissistic...

Challenge 6 - Abstract

I really loved this challenge! Inspired by James Welling and his quote from the book 'Photographers on Photography' - "It's not that I don't care about content, but content is not the only way a photograph has meaning".

I headed into making these images with the idea of painting with light. I have heard about this abstract technique and seen great results from other photographers but not yet tried it.

When it came to presenting the imagery my creative intuition directed me towards grouping the photographs in two's. Was this an attempt at creating a relationship from images with no context? I'm not sure but it got me thinking. Having a second image to relate to, gave the composition more strength - strength in numbers maybe...

Abstract Takeaway - Image making doesn't have to be about documenting and recording. Another way to use my camera, I can paint with light.

Challenge 7 - Slow Shutter Sunrise

What away to finish the 2 months here on the island!

Taking the time to watch the day start, play with reflections, listen to the shoreline and take in all those colours. I don't think I could have picked a better day for it!!

Slow Shutter Sunrise - Reinforcing what I already know...mornings are magical!

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