I don’t remember where I came across PhotoCorps and PhotoScouting. PhotoCorps is a grant funded community photography workshop/training/community thing, started by Chris Glass, and based in Cincinnati, and PhotoScouting is a sort of workshop: “21 exercises to make more intentional photographs, explore neighborhoods and connect with people.”
Now, even though I’m ~1000 miles away, I probably need to do more of all of that, so I picked up a copy of the Guidebook, and one of these days, I’ll work through it.
The whole concept of PhotoCorps and PhotoScouting is pretty cool: participants work through the exercises and submit photos to earn badges. I received the first patch in the envelope, and now need to find something to sew it to…
The exercises are organized into three categories—Photography, Neighborhood, and People—and each category has seven exercises to teach some photography techniques, and encourage getting out in the world and thinking about what to point the camera at. The exercises are fairly straightforward, with plenty of room for interpretation and experimentation. A few examples might help:
From the Photography section:
Find a pattern and capture it.
Ther eare patterns all around. On the walls, under our feet and in unexpected ways. Maybe it is similarity of objects repeated within a scene.
Find something in your neighborhood that might be broken. Take a photo.
and from People:
Photograph someone you don’t know, yet. Ask their permission, no covert stuff here.
If you’re young, make sure you have a parent or guardian with you before you talk to strangers. Have this booklet handy if there are questions.
Capture Joy in humanity.
Last challenge, make it count!
The Guidebook itself is small, a bit smaller than the Photomemo books, with a rigid, lightly textured cover. The interior pages are brightly colored, with friendly designs, and the whole thing feels fun and has a kind of ‘let’s do this!’ vibe to it.
I look forward to working through this little book. I don’t know how far I’ll get, or if I’ll participate in the online component or send off for the badges, and much of it will be a stretch for me, since I don’t get out much, don’t feel that comfortable in my neighborhood or find it particularly inspiring, and don’t really like to talk to people much. If I can make it through this, God willing, I’ll discover a few new things about photography, and broaden my photo horizons.
I’ve stalled a bit on the Finding my Photography exercise. I’m still working on it, but I’ve lost my place with the Art of Photography assignments, and the current Inspired Eye exercise has me a bit stymied.
- Look for old or make 5 images that are metaphoric in nature. Think of a concept first, like Light vs Dark, Calmness, Chaos, etc
- Take a few images that are hard to locate the shooting location and show them to your friends, ask them where do they think you made them
- Find 5 images you made you really like and describe them, do you tend to emphasize where those images were made? Why?
Seems easy enough, and I’m probably thinking too much about it… For the metaphoric part, I need to consciously shoot that, and I’m mostly an opportunistic, willy-nilly type, mindless shooter. For the location part, I’ve taken to titling all my pictures with [City], [State] [Year] in the manner of some of the classic street photographers (even though I don’t really shoot street photography). At the same time, it doesn’t at all matter where the pictures were taken, and there’s not much in the frame to indicate a specific place. And for the last part, I can do that with ease, but the pictures I most like are those connected with specific memories, and memories generally include place…
I’m thinking too much about it, and just need to focus and get shooting, but at the same time, I need to plan a bit… I’ve been listening to the Story Grid podcast, and one of the (for me) recent episodes talked about just getting the words on the page, editing and fixing later, and I think I need to do some of that: set “Calmness and Chaos” in my mind, and just go out for a walk with a camera…