Picking up your camera, shooting, and challenging yourself is the best way to improve your photography. The Creativity Exercises within the Clickin Moms photography forum are a great source for finding new ways to challenge yourself. On the first Monday of every month the wonderful Sarah Wilkerson posts a new tutorial and challenges our members to shoot with the exercise in mind. While the exercises are ongoing, at the end of each month we choose a few images as the ‘Editors’ Choice’ and share them here with you on the blog. How fun is that?! Today we are sharing August’s exercise with you below!
creativity exercise | humanizing a non-human subject or object
*image copyright Allison Jacobs
Have you ever seen a tenacious leaf? It’s the last one so stubbornly hanging onto a tree branch as the winter wind whistles in. What about raindrops dancing in already formed puddles on the sidewalk or the lonely teddy bear who has for two weeks been left untouched under your seven year old’s bed? Ever see a face formed in the bark of a gnarled old tree or the gentle rays of sunlight offering hope in a bleak scene?
According to the American Heritage Dictionary,“Anthropomorphism” is the “attribution of human motivation, characteristics, or behavior to inanimate objects, animals, or natural phenomena.”
Anthropomorphism is commonly seen in art, literature, and film – Orwell’s Animal Farm; the common personification of Death, Mother Nature, Father Time; The Brave Little Toaster; the “Dogs Playing Poker” series of paintings; The Velveteen Rabbit; Thomas the Train; Joos de Momper’s “Anthropomorphic Landscape”; and so on.
How is this relevant to photography? Anthropomorphism need not be as obvious or literal as the examples above. By shooting inanimate objects or events as if they have a story to tell, an emotion to convey, or otherwise project some human qualities, we create interest and empathy for the viewer – our audience is likely to connect with the image. Focus on whether you can suggest that your non-human subject has feelings (melancholy, joyful, angry, lonely, carefree, tired, stubborn, belligerent, etc), action/intent (bringing hope, attempting to comfort, threatening to injure, offering shelter, embracing, guiding, guarding, blocking, etc), or even physical human characteristics (a face, legs, arms, etc). If it helps, go ahead and title your image as well; in fact, sometimes it helps me to have a particular title in my head to really define my goals/vision when shooting.
Congratulations to the ladies below whose photographs were selected as this month’s Editors’ Choices!
Thank you to everyone who participated in the exercise! We love seeing all the beautiful imagery!
Do you want to join in on this Creativity Exercise? You can still participate in this Humanizing a Non-Human Subject or Object challenge by either visiting the forum here or sharing with us in the comments below. We’d love to see your work!