Find yourself taking pictures of the same subjects? Need to get in the habit of bringing your camera with you out of the house, and to actually, you know, use it? Just as authors make use of writing prompts to regularly jump-start their creativity, here are some photo projects to get you in the habit of making art.
Bring out the similarities and differences with clever juxtapositioning. (Photo credit: Woods Wheatcroft)
1) Use juxtaposition. The image of a thin wall separating the absolute poverty of the slums from the beautiful terraced apartments with their swimming pools and tennis courts causes more visceral reactions about income inequality than statistics ever will. Employ the same technique to make your pictures speak volumes through the explicit contrasts of the subjects. Compare the refrigerators of your health conscious but slobbish friend with that of your neat freak uncle who has nothing but well organized condiments and fast food leftovers. Set up shots with incongruous elements, with people or items that seem wildly out of place for the setting, like a palm tree on a glaciated mountain summit, or a punk rocker in a business meeting.
Normal in the club is surreal among ruins. (Photo credit: Jerry Fill)
2) Tell a story. Use photographs as sequential art, like a live action graphic novel. Whether you show plot and emotions as complex as a Dostoevsky novel's or just capture the states of a room before, during, and after a massive party, the narrative structure will draw people into the images you present.
3) Start with a quotation or concept and produce pictures that fit it. Alternatively, match up images with captions written by another creative person in your life, the way E Horn and J Comeau collaborate to create A Softer World.
4) Portray seven people as the seven dwarfs: Bashful, Doc, Dopey, Grumpy, Happy, Sleepy, and Sneezy. Perhaps have just one model express all seven characteristics in different shots.
5) Take photographs of the same scene, but use lighting, framing, and perspective to make one optimistic print and one pessimistic one. A decaying building that epitomizes pollution and waste could – in a different light – be seen as the fertile ground for resilient plant life reclaiming the area.
6) Take portraits without any people in them. Arrange a representative collection of a person's possessions and capture a still life that tells the viewer about that person. This project was inspired by Camilla Cantrabone's portraits of her family, discovered through photojojo.com, which has lots more great photography advice and project prompts.
Self portrait, by me
Find a project that speaks to you, and exercise your creativity!