(in case you forget what the assignment was, click here)
Rather than spend a lot of text talking about each image, I thought I’d just post them all (yes, all… lots of people who said they were going to participate didn’t, more later on that) and talk in general about the results. Btw, the crops on the thumbnails below are a WordPress default I can’t figure out how to change. The whole images are linked to the thumbs, uncropped, so look at those to see the work as intended by the photographers. Also, I posted two images each from two different photographers– don’t get used to this. The rules are going to have to be followed more tightly as we get more participants and that means one photo to a photog. But for now, let’s just look at everything. 🙂
The photographers, in order (L->R)
Tony Novak-Clifford (both)
Kelly Ng (both)
Rodney Yardley / Ryan Gibson
First of all, I think you’ll notice that several people made images using the same basic subjects– that is, a fish bowl and toy house. This is not a bad thing! Just because several photographers thought of the same basic idea doesn’t mean there was a lack of creative thinking on their parts. When you are given an article to illustrate, finding something that communicates the major theme of the article to the masses will generate similar results. In fact, while some of the non-fishbowl images are great, a photo editor may not be thrilled with all of them as visual solutions because some of them weren’t as clear.
But even those that are similar aren’t the same. I have to say I have a fondness for Alger’s thumbs-up diver, but as I have said before, I have a warped sense of humor. And others went in very different directions, like Zaitz’ twisted homage to the famous Iwo Jima image. But I think everyone thought about the assignment, and that makes the work successful.
That being said, while only one photographer actually used text on the image(s), several sent explanatory notes. Here’s a hint: if you have to explain an image that goes with an article, it’s not strong enough (or, you don’t have enough confidence that the image is strong enough). Remember, the idea behind this assignment was that you were suppose to illustrate an article. So, the readers will have all the words already– you just need to visually represent the theme.
One of the photographers very kindly included his concepting worksheet and has given me permission to share it… that would be that last thumbnail, of course. I wanted to do this because I think it is great to show how at least one person thought through the problem. Thank you Kevin Halliburton, for being so willing to share.
He’s got an awful lot jammed onto this one page of notes and sketches! But he starts with the “Key Concepts” and that is really smart of him. From there he explores other ideas and you can see that his final concept is included on the page. Hard to tell if it was first or last or if he played with everything before deciding on that one, but whatever the system he used, he didn’t just pick one and not explore.
Of course, if this were a real assignment, the photographer would be talking with the photo editor throughout the process so the explanatory notes would not be needed either. I wanted to bring up those notes and the use of text above because, mostly, of the confidence issue. When you send an image, you need to believe it does what it is supposed to do! Moreover, you need to believe it’s good. One photographer sent an image with a note expressing that the photog did not expect to make the cut. Don’t say that! If you don’t believe in your work, who will? (It was a strong image, btw).
Generally, I am really proud of the growth and thought coming from some of you–especially those who don’t usually do conceptual work. There is a lot of thinking in these images, and that is what is most important. Anyone can learn the technical stuff, but the thought is harder– it really has to come from inside the artist.
So, for those of you who submitted, I am really pleased. For those of you who meant to but didn’t, I’m sure for some of you it was a case of getting busy with “real” work, but for some of you it was a case of just not getting your shit together. You know which category you’re in. I encourage all of you to try and do the next assignment. Make it a significant priority–don’t give up paying work, of course, but PLAN and SCHEDULE to make it happen otherwise, that includes time to concept.
I’ll post the next assignment within a week. I have some thoughts swirling about it.
In the meantime, how about some comments from all of you about this one…