Last Friday, the Online Photographer shared the first part of this Little Game. I don’t know what the rest of the game involves, but I have a few suspicions. Time will tell.

The gist of part one is as follows: take pen and paper, look through your archive, and list out 25 categories of things that you like to take pictures of. These could be genres, subjects, scenes, whatever, but they should be things that get you moving in some way, and not things that you do just to sell or get likes from.

I limited my archive to film, shot in the last 3 years, and still had some 12000 images to scroll through. It was at turns exhilarating and depressing: exhilarating to see all the really interesting/pretty pictures I’ve made; depressing at just how much I’ve shot and (seemingly) how little I’ve done with it (though I’ve written hundreds of posts here, almost all with a handful of pictures or more). But overall, this little game has been quite engaging and fun, so far, and I look forward to seeing what comes next.

Here’s my list, with some examples.

Note: some pictures will work for multiple categories, others may not be the best example for a given category; some categories may overlap somewhat.

Hana, Friends, Family – portraits, events; my darling, adorable wife, especially her hands, engaged in some activity

Meals – full/empty plates (Stephen Shore)

Selfies – self-timer/remote trigger, engaging in some sort of activity (especially reading) rather than more tradition mirror or handheld selfies

Strangers Doing Things – events/activities, generally; small humans in big, impersonal environments, paying no attention to me or the camera

Domesticated Animals – especially when looking into the camera or otherwise engaged with the viewer

Driving – the Bobby Hooper Tunnel; highways, especially in the rain; streetcorners, scenes from stoplights

Out the Window/Through Dirty Windows – hotel/motel room (Robert Frank), home, car, office

Streetscapes in Older Towns – older neighborhoods, residences, apartments

Empty/Quiet Spaces – Bookstores, with narrow aisles/racks; fabric shops similarly; older stores and cafes in general

Sunlit Interiors – morning light, side lit, light moving across rooms; evening color

High Contrast (B/W) – cinematic, bright white/dark black

The Back of Things – alleys, parking lots, backyards from outside the property line

Places I Remember (even if I don’t) – vacant, unused now; buildings that used to be something else; nostalgia, even if fiction

Landscapes – parks, mountains, highways; lakes/bodies of water with no foreground to stand on

Rain/Mist/Fog – car/street/shop lights reflecting in water; misty/rainy drives; foggy landscapes

Clouds/Skyscapes – birds in flight; color in the sky; clouds

Transparency – water: in/out, over/under, wet/dry, droplets, splashes, drips; plastic bags: wrinkled, light reflecting, looking through

Reflections – and looking through them

Through Grids – chain link, nets, webs; tree branches

Foreground Blur/Framing – subject peeking through, just sharp enough

Defocused & Abstraction

Close-Up – flowers, wrinkled sheets, hands

Low Contrast (Color) – pastels, subtle color

Negatives – tape on the ends, tears & rips, cut lines (but not hard water spots or dust)

Errors – flare, ghosting, light leaks, wacky colors (eg. from opening the back, not green xpro’d slides)


So that’s my Little Game, part 1… I look forward to seeing what comes next!

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