Tuesday, February 23, 2010

10 Great Photography Projects - Explore Your Pet Peeve

The meaning of passion is well understood and it is not like an emotion? What stronger emotions are then, than those that annoy, frustrate and generally get in our way of doing what we do. Could that emotion not drive you to create a unique view on what may seem to most people to be acceptable or at least a bearable necessity?

Difficulty: Easy. It’s the couch time that’s harder.

While reading an article on The Online Photographer blog Mike starts off with:
“Here's a modest suggestion for a self-assignment. If you have a "peeve pathology," as defined in the previous post...explore it. Embrace it. Work with it. Emphasize it and exaggerate it. See what you can do.”

 and I found this “explore your peeve” idea intriguing.

The story had mainly to do with some photographers being overly obsessed about noise, level horizon, fringing, etc, and these are all good worries in their own right, but why not embrace with a wider panorama.

Take a look at those life’s nuances and describe the feeling you have about it. See if others can understand what irritates you.

Find a theme or subject(s) that irritates, infuriates, or frustrates you. It can be interactions in everyday life, technology and tools, the weather or anything that rattles your clam.

In a storybook approach, describe in simple terms what makes up this frustration and more importantly how you feel about it. It may be complex so that it will require several interactions or analysis with events  to understand.

Unfortunately this is not a study I have done and for this article I went through my archives to see if I had any photos that work with my pet peeve.  Can you guess from the image below what it might be?
The Camera was set to timer mode and placed on monopod and raised above my head.  That line of crown seems to vanish into infinity. Absolutely no end in sight. Except for the people’s faces, I darkened all the other tones to create a heavier mood.

As you might imagine my pet peeve would be standing in large lines or crowds. In fact, it might be more of an obsession or mania because I tend to plan all such outings to happen at times when crowds thinner than the proverbial hairs on a bald head.

How to convey in a photo an object or scene as an irritant, when at the same time we are trying to make a good photograph, at least in the sense that it’s interesting. This is the harder part of the challenge.

By first describing in words this peeve we can get guidelines to help us contextualize out thoughts in photographic terms.

My own words would be; confining, encroaching, endless, impregnable, massive, no way out, dull, lifeless, edgy, fortress, distressing, murky, gloomy,

How I would approach my analysis of a pet peeve.

In my own case, large crowds are the problem; so taking a photo of a group of people in colourful outfits will not convey the correct mood and B&W will set the tone fittingly.
The feeling of confinement is felt by the narrow alley, massive crowd reinforced by all the poles and flags. The lady with her arms crossed makes this wall of people seem even more impregnable. I decided to leave the top of wires and poles in, as even here, there is no escape by flying away.

I would think photos of people parts cut-off, either at image borders or with object would make the people seem more out of place.  The place itself can be shown in a majestic and pleasing manner. It’s just the people somehow need not to fit right.

There should higher contrast and darker overall tones. Edgier.

If it’s a long line-up, then an indication of the length of line and maybe indicators of frustration in some of the people waiting in line.  A photograph of a long spiraling line-up, taken slightly above their head, showing the unending length of people in front of you, helps to reinforce this sense.

Do you get the feeling you are going the wrong way or swimming against the current?

Have any of you photos that somehow convey your feeling with a pet peeve and if so provide a link and your thoughts about this peeve.

Niels Henriksen


Brian Auer of Epic Edits Blog has just launched a new site for film photography at Feeling Negative and as with all his work it should be a great place to learn and participate.

1 comment:

Anita Jesse said...

What an intriguing project. Now, as I look through my files, I will keep an eye out for photos that relate to pet peeves. You are always coming up with such engaging ideas!


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