Focus - Photo Challenge: Abandon Normal Convention

July 22, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

Abandon normal convention. That was the theme for the week. So, how do you do that? What is "normal convention" anyway? Honestly, defining the terms in this challenge is really the hardest part. How can I go about defying normal convention if I don't even know what it is? I really thought about this one a lot. Do I break the common photography rules-of-thumb (or is it rule-of-thumbs?)? Do I photograph things in the real world that aren't normally photographed (something ugly for instance)? Or do I look for things that are already out of the ordinary and photograph them? My answer: I have no idea. I didn't come up with a great solution to this topic.

Really, this theme is bigger than just a weekly challenge idea. It's the thing that can set a person apart from the crowd. What makes my artwork worth hanging on your wall? Why would someone hire me to shoot their interior over the next guy? I once read an article where the author suggested looking at the photograph you are about to take and ask yourself one question: Have I seen this photo before? If the answer is "yes" then don't take the shot. It's been done before. That idea resonated with me, because I was already trying to do just that. I really do make an effort to be distinct in my photography. I do try to learn from other photographers, but I don't want to copy them. I want to be me. I think these Coldplay lyrics put it well:

You could take a picture of something you see
In the future where will I be?
You could climb a ladder up to the sun
Or write a song nobody had sung
Or do something that's never been done


My first idea was flowers. I have taken a lot of flower picture, and, no doubt, will take lots more. I usually avoid the dead ones though.

Dead flower, Dead hibiscus, Flower, Flowers, HibiscusDSC_5290 I saw pictures of these fields when they were in full bloom - incredible. I didn't have a chance to go see them, but I drove past them on the way to Houston. I can tell you I was the only one out there while they looked like this.

Dead sunflower, Dead sunflowers, Flower, Flowers, Sunflower, Sunflower field, SunflowersDSC_5303

My second idea came from something my wife told me about. She had seen some images from a photographer who does underwater portraits. Underwater, wearing regular clothes. That gave me the idea of having all my kids jump into a pool with all their clothes on. This one didn't come out exactly as I had in mind, but it was fun to do.

Swimming with clothes on, jumping in pool with clothes onDSC_5355_6_7_8_9


This shot just happened to fit with the theme. We saw this guy performing while we were in Houston. I'd say he has abandoned normal convention.Balance, Juggling fire, Street performer, Street performanceDSC_5454

I'm not sure if I have abandoned normal convention to become my own version of a photographer, but my goal is to be doing something that's never been done.


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