“We are not interested in the unusual, but in the usual seen unusually.” – Beaumont Newhall
You know your camera inside and out. You achieve perfect sharpness, perfect color, perfect exposure 100% of the time … and that makes you a brilliant technician. All you need now is a beautiful subject, and you automatically have a beautiful, captivating photograph – right? But what does it take to be an artist? Part of it is developing the kind of eye that can recognize the potential for an ordinary object to become something extraordinary within the viewfinder. Let’s take that creative visualization a bit further. Let’s go beyond the mundane…
This month, your challenge is to photograph a subject or scene traditionally considered ugly, unappealing, undesirable, or even downright repulsive … and capture it in a way that draws us in. It could be a dumpster, a dirty sink, a toilet, tangled cords, clutter, litter, something damaged, cracking, rusting, stained, ripped, frayed, broken, decaying … you get the idea. I’m talking about the kind of stuff you typically AVOID including the in the frame because it would detract from your subject. In this case, I want you to make it your subject. How can you make it beautiful or interesting? Is it about changing up your physical perspective? Working with a different lens? Using light creatively? Emphasizing color, lines, or texture? Converting it to black and white or otherwise processing it creatively? Let’s see what you’ve got!
What’s the best way to improve your photography? Shoot thoughtfully and frequently! Try new things and embrace creative and technical challenges. Every month, Sarah Wilkerson posts a new tutorial and challenges our members to join in a new Creativity Exercise on the Clickin Moms photography forum. At the conclusion of the exercise, we select Editors’ Choice images from among the exercise submissions and share them here with you on the blog. Congratulations to the ladies whose photographs included in the exercise above were selected as this month’s Editors’ Choices, and thank you to everyone who participated in the exercise!
And be sure to participate in the next exercise! Visit the forum where Sarah has posted the next challenge. We’d love to see your work!
Sarah Wilkerson, New York
CEO | CMU Instructor
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Duke graduate and former attorney Sarah Wilkerson joined Clickin Moms as a member photographer in 2008 and quickly became a leader in the community. Together with Kendra, Sarah has led the evolution of the company’s mission, program development, and position within the greater photography community. She currently resides in New York with her Army JAG husband, three sons, one daughter, and two dogs. Sarah shoots with a Nikon D4, enjoys tilt-shift and atmospheric black and white work, and instructs CMU’s upper level composition courses: Elements of Design and Composition and Creativity.