Open-Ended Challenge


Been spending a lot of time on here!
Nov 12, 2011
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Nashville, TN
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I put this Challenge in the Beginner’s forum for a reason, that being I felt they would get the most benefit from it. If the mods feel it should be in the Challenges forum then by all means please feel free to move it.

This is an open-ended challenge. There is no time limit. There are no winners and no losers, and in reality the only one that is being challenged is the individual. There are no prizes, other than perhaps a little bit of insight into how one sees things.

The basis of the challenge is that everything that we see has photogenic value. From the mundane to the obvious, everything hides a photograph and the challenge is to find that hidden photograph. It is there, all you have to do is find it.

The rules are pretty simple as well. There are two ways to do this; one invites cheating and the other doesn’t:

Method #1 – Walk into a room in your house and the FIRST OBJECT THAT YOU SEE is your subject. No cheating! No pre-aiming your eyes to see what you want and ignore what you don’t want to see. You HAVE to accept the very first object that you see. If you pick it ahead of time then half of the challenge is gone.

Method #2 – Have someone write out the names of objects in your house on small pieces of paper or in a file on your computer. In fact you can also do it yourself if you are honest. Anything and everything. The living room couch, the kitchen range, the cat in the window, the statue of Xeria on the mantle, the pile of junk in the basement. Anything goes. Put them in a box, shake them up, and pick one. Read it and put it back in the box. In the case of a file on your computer start at the top and work your way down.

Now, take a photograph of that item. That’s all. Photograph it any way you want to, but you can NOT move it. Add lights, use flash, adjust the curtains, whatever you want but you can’t move the object.

You don’t have to take the photograph immediately unless you enforce that rule upon yourself. Take your time, look at it from different angles for a day or so, look at it in different lighting, and then choose what makes it stand out from the background. The photograph IS there, all you have to do is find it.

If you picked the same object for a second time, that’s not a problem. Photograph it in a different manner from the previous shot. A different angle or different lighting or different anything.

Now for the last rule: You have to keep all of the photographs that you shoot. You don’t have to post them here, although you are welcome to do so, but at some point I want you to go back and look at the first and see if you feel like your ability to see the photograph that is hidden within everything has improved. Look at them in the sequence that you took them and I think you’ll realize that what was hard to find at the beginning got easier each time, and at some point you will realize that you have started to see for the first time.

I didn’t come up with this idea. It goes back a lot longer than me, and it was an exercise my mentor had me do back in the 60’s. For all I know his mentor had him do the same thing years previous to his passing it on to me. Since it is just as pertinent to drawing and painting the idea could go back centuries. All I know is that it helped me.

So, have at it. If you want to post your photos here that’s fine. If you want to post whether it helped or not that’s fine to. If you want to keep everything to yourself go right ahead. Like I said, there are no prizes, there are no winners, and there are no losers.
Thanks for posting this! I'll be sure to give this a try this weekend! I'm thinking about turning it into a 365 project...or maybe a 52 week project?? Hmm...
This is a great idea and something different and I am always up for a challenge. Thanks for it.
Enjoy it. It's a great way to learn. Just don't cheat ;) You can't walk into a room and say "I don't want to shoot that. Or that. Or that. Or that." The fact is that every single thing has a photograph in it somewhere, you just have to find it.
I'd get banned faster than you can blink an eye.
The first thing I saw after reading this is the playboy magazine on the coffee table.
Now what?
Great idea, i'm not in this but will post a shot that should get the creative juices flowing

Well done. Things like that are exactly what this is all about. Take an everyday, simple object that you have passed by a hundred times and photograph it.
I'd get banned faster than you can blink an eye.
The first thing I saw after reading this is the playboy magazine on the coffee table.
Now what?
A shot of the edge of the magazine? A macro of the staples holding together? Use your imagination.
I'd get banned faster than you can blink an eye.
The first thing I saw after reading this is the playboy magazine on the coffee table.
Now what?

Put your porn up!
This is my sister's room


The first thing I saw was this pink couch


there was also a blue pillow on the couch


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