26 by 26 7:22am, 2 May 2013
Be inspired to be brave.
— Spencer Murphy

Spencer adds…
"Photography can often be a very solitary pursuit and an excuse for the shy to hide. Do something you wouldn't usually do, photograph someone or something in a different way and subvert the pictures meaning, approach a subject that you've been putting off because you've been afraid".

Boy On Motorbike, Stow

(click on the grey icon to view)

Bryan Ferry

(click on the grey icon to view)

Laird Hamilton, Big Wave Surfer

(click on the grey icon to view)

All images copyright of Spencer Murphy

Spencer was born in 1978 and grew up in the Kentish countryside. Raised in relative isolation, miles from the nearest shop or school, Spencer often found himself with only his imagination for company and the surrounding woodland as his playground. It was a combination of this imagination and an early discovery of his mother’s back issues of Life and National Geographic that sparked an early enthusiasm for photography at the age of 11. As a result, his parents bought him his first camera and photography quickly became a channel for his creativity.


As well as being a good place to connect with other members and share your initial reactions, thoughts about how to 'solve it' and any links you think might help the group. This can also be a good place to include any old photos you have that fit the challenge or your work-in-progress during the two weeks before posting your final image to the group pool.

We're looking forward to hearing people's thoughts, good luck everyone!
— 26 by 26 team

(a quick reminder that submissions should have the challenge number in the title or description, there's only one submission allowed per challenge and old photos are only permissible in the discussion threads and not the group pool)
martkelly 5 years ago
If you haven't done it before, it's surprising how helpful strangers usually are when you ask them if you can take a photograph. Will have to think for a while to come up with something that really pushes this.
Monty May (OBSERVE) PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Monty May (OBSERVE) (member) 5 years ago
Definetely no instruction for tele users!!

Cigar Man

U Chmele #3
Julia M Cameron PRO 5 years ago
Monty May:

Agree! Being brave for me involves getting close, not shooting at 300mm!
It could also mean a macro of a spider as I'm arachnaphobic.....urgh!
Paul Cruickshank 5 years ago
For me it's getting into the thick of it at 28 or 35mm.

man being arrested, wallet and leaf
johnpaddler PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by johnpaddler (member) 5 years ago
I thought we were done being brave with instruction #04. Luckily, in the Northern hemisphere we have good weather for bravery now and people seem exceptionally amenable.

'subvert the pictures meaning' - that's the exciting part. But how to do it? Subverting the messages of authority and the multinationals brands - as Adbusters. I like that.

Whaddyaknow, search up pops one by David - Adbusters, Berlin.


This is one of my attempts at subversion.

The minority is always in the right

... ... ... ... ...

Haven't looked at Spencer's site yet. McAfee SiteAdviser flags yellow, Suspicious Site. Whoa! Are you sure you want to go there? - link is suspicious. We tested it and found potential security risks. Be careful.

In the meantime, Spencer has a blog.
And is represented by Making Pictures.

David - you might like to let Spencer know about his McAfee status.
LornaMcHardy Posted 5 years ago. Edited by LornaMcHardy (member) 5 years ago
"Brave" in the sense of doing something I would usually choose not to do, for me would involve taking candid photos of people, street photography, that kind of thing.
As I loathe, hate, and detest it when people take photos of me without my consent for whatever reason and in whatever context, it's not something I'm prepared to do to anyone else... if I have to be brave to do it, there's probably a good reason I don't...
So I'll have to sit this one out!
Mark W Russell 5 years ago

Spencer's brief does include the phrase "photograph someone or something...."

Being brave doe not necessarily mean candid, and could include asking permission, does it not?
photodrum PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by photodrum (member) 5 years ago
I think that "brave" in this case, means stepping outside your personal level of comfort. It might mean candidly photographing someone. It might mean walking up to a perfect stranger and asking their complicity in a photo. It might mean doing something egregiously unlawful or as simple as walking onto another's land (trespassing) to snap one. It might also mean putting yourself in a position where the odds of personal injury are high, such as rapelling down a cliff to photograph a rock climber. It could mean that you risk being detained by the authorities due to prowling around a government site. In the US, one can easily tempt fate by walking up to a federal courthouse with a video cam. Their first thought is that you're a terrorist.
Here are few images that took some form of 'bravery" on my part.

The first several portraits are from a trip to the North Vietnam/Chinese area border 2 years ago. I approached and asked several local women if they would pose for a series of portraits. They not only accepted my request, but ended up assisting by posing and by holding my portable lighting kit while I worked through portraits of the others.

The rusted building is an abandoned phosphate processing facility. I drove onto private company land and snapped a quick series for this HDR and several others before exiting in a hurry. This was a bit scary as there were security staff making regular rounds on the site. I risked arrest for this.

The last one was taken while driving through a very rough neighborhood in 1985 where crack cocaine and other drugs were being sold from the street corner. I was approached by several aggressive individuals before I got this frame off. Immediately after this pic was taken a couple approached my vehicle asking who I was, what was I doing there and who did I work for. They were hammering on the windows of my truck with their fists and yelling obscenities while I drove off through a red traffic light, nearly missing another vehicle in the intersection. I can't claim bravery here, only stupidity. It is far from a perfect shot, but there is something about this picture that brings me back to view it again and again.

Giang from Tavan 1.jpg


Phosphate Plant (4 of 7)

Ft Meyers 1985
sobrenivel 5 years ago
It´s similar to #4 , isn´t it?
LornaMcHardy 5 years ago

How is it similar to 4?
sobrenivel 5 years ago
BTW, wonderful photos Fred!!
photodrum PRO 5 years ago

Challenge #4 doesn't require bravery.
LornaMcHardy 5 years ago
Mark Russell123:

Well yes, there are many ways in which whatever you're doing might require some courage; photographically speaking, the candid/street shot stuff is that for me - I can't think of any other type of photography that would scare me. But as I said, it's also something I'm deeply uncomfortable with, would object strongly to being involved in myself, and am therefore not prepared to do.
Photography, for me, is not about being brave. It's about enjoyment, and the satisfaction (I hope) of getting better at it :0) I see little point in doing something that affords me no enjoyment; that effectively, I have to force myself to do.
I could go lean over a precipice to get a shot of a cliff-hugging flower, I suppose, but I'm not really keen on that either... good luck to everyone else :0))
photodrum PRO 5 years ago
I'm still not sure what is meant by "subvert the picture's meaning". Anyone else?
scala66/Paul Marsh PRO 5 years ago

Lorna, I would maybe suggest that you don't just give up on this challenge. maybe take a few shots, see how it goes, you never know, something might happen and you find yourself with a great shot. Sometimes you can do good by stepping out of your comfort zone.
IngeHG PRO 5 years ago
My first idea when seeing this challenge was thinking this would mean going out of my comfort zone regarding taking pictures, and like Lorna the furthest out of my comfort zone would be taking pictures of people, especially strangers, going up to strangers asking them if I can photograph them and publish the photograph. I'll try, but it will be very hard for me. But then I realised that there are more things I don't do when photographing, like taking pictures where it isn't allowed, trespassing and ... taking pictures of things that make me very uncomfortable like snakes !

Here's an example in an old picture and believe me, I was extremely uncomfortable when I took this, even if the boa was behind glass

Overcoming phobias
charming kettle [deleted] 5 years ago
I always interpreted "being brave" in art as using your art to argue a point of view (not necessarily your own) that others might not agree with or to bring to light a subject the general public would rather not be confronted with.

Using your mode of expression as a way to create discussion on a difficult subject, and as the messenger put yourself in harm's way.

Something along the lines of this:
charming kettle [deleted] 5 years ago
The "be inspired" bit hits home with me though. Lately I haven't been out taking photographs much.
~ Meredith ~ 5 years ago
Hey Lorna it seems a shame to sit this one out. What about trying a self portrait or as Mark approach someone and ask them. That's something I find quite scary and a real challenge to pull off.

In that respect I think sobrenivel is right in thinking there are similarities with challenge #4. I chose to include myself and my partner who also hates being in front of the camera. For me it was a challenge to persuade him and also put myself in the frame :) But that's just me. I recognise that others might not have found it to be one :)
johnpaddler PRO 5 years ago
'Subvert the picture's meaning' would be the exact opposite of #4 wouldn't it?
~ Meredith ~ Posted 5 years ago. Edited by ~ Meredith ~ (member) 5 years ago
True John, true :)

Re-edited to add

Though I suppose it would still be sending a message, just not the one intended by the subject :)
Kristin Ator Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Kristin Ator (member) 5 years ago
My first reaction to this challenge was to interpret as 'push your comfort zone". I don't think it is asking you to trespass, or do something illegal, put yourself at risk or even to take a candid photo of a stranger if that's not in keeping with your personal values. And even the part about subverting the photo's meaning might be interpreted as undermining an established way of doing it... So I'm going to aim to push myself photographically in a non-traditional way... or at least try something new!
~ Meredith ~ 5 years ago
Nicely put Kristin. That seems like a pretty good interpretation to me :)

For me this challenge is sort of what the whole 26by26 project is about. Pushing myself creatively, breaking the rules and opening myself up to new ideas. I've still got no idea what I'm going to do but fingers crossed I'll get there in the end :)
g*treefrog Posted 5 years ago. Edited by g*treefrog (member) 5 years ago
discussion #5

a benign looking scene....but it is serious croc country with a 4m+ saltie being trapped a few days before photo.
So, all is not as it would seem and only the seriously stupid would be outside of the car. I felt ridiculously brave/ stupid even in it.
david_gillett 5 years ago
That's worrying about Spencer's site. I suspect it's McAfee being overcareful, I've had no problems issues testing the site in three different browsers here.

Has anyone else had security warnings for ?
maximilianen 5 years ago
Lady matching her bicycle
Senza titolo
johnpaddler PRO 5 years ago
I think their flag was because of something to do with the feedback part of his site - - could McAfee be reacting to malicious links left by visitors?

The blog and his agency have enough of his work to give a good idea of what he is about (links in earlier post).
LornaMcHardy 5 years ago

I'm not so much giving up as making a conscious decision not to do this. Why would it be good to leave this particular comfort zone? I see no benefit in it... over the past couple of years I've tried loads of new things with the camera, which I wasn't comfortable with because I knew nothing about them, and have learnt hugely in the process, often due to the generosity of people on this site; challenge four was of this ilk as I don't generally take photos of people.
But this is different because it seems to be demanding that you do something you are specifically afraid of doing... something you have good reasons not to do, as opposed to simply not being adept at, or entirely comfortable with. Otherwise, why would it require courage? I don't see the point of that, and it's not something I want to do.
I'm maybe not explaining myself very well.
LornaMcHardy Posted 5 years ago. Edited by LornaMcHardy (member) 5 years ago

Now, that's a thought. I'm not sure it fits the brief, though? It's fairly clear that the expectation is that you should be afraid, not your viewers... I do prefer yours :0))
In fact, I know where I could take one like that!
Julia M Cameron PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Julia M Cameron (admin) 5 years ago
Kristin Ator:

~ Meredith ~:

I'm with you on this Challenge!
Let's not get brave as in foolhardy or dangerous.

Brave can also mean bold, as in trying something more adventurous in photographic terms...perhaps go very contrasty black and white or really push the colours. What it should be is a pleasure!

Nowhere does the Challenge suggest sticking a camera with a 35mm lens into the face of a stranger! .....Many of the street photographers amongst the membership will already be working "bravely" as a matter of routine! But the Challenge is not about photographing people, it is much wider than that.

The dictionary also suggests that brave can mean "showy"....

Be inspired boldly go!
darcydancer PRO 5 years ago
Enjoyable challenge and out with a 28 or 35mm

Spine Skegness
Leripix Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Leripix (member) 5 years ago
What resonates with me is the something "you've been putting off because you've been afraid".

So not something you DON'T want to do, but very much that you DO want to do if only you had the courage.

I'm now better at asking people but only if they look as though they will agree to have their picture taken. I did have a go on Friday and asked someone who looked as though they might not (after about half an hour on the bus) - hooray she said yes, but the bus was so bumpy that I couldn't keep still . I took it anyway and it was crap but it's a start...

I guess it may even mean enlisting someone's help to get over a particular mental hurdle (more collaboration).

Onward and upward...

Good luck everyone.
photodrum PRO 5 years ago
Can anyone show or does anyone have an image where its meaning is subverted? Can that be done where accompanying text is not necessary - where its speaks for itself?
~ Meredith ~ 5 years ago
Perhaps not without a title but looking back through my stream I found this shot taken on the Paris Metro which might do it. I called it the distance between us because to me it seemed as though they might have been a couple on the verge of separation. They reality was they weren't even travelling together.

The Distance between Us
photodrum PRO 5 years ago
So you've given me a new way to see these kinds of pictures - the kind where seemingly disassociated events and people come together in a frame to form a new meaning. I was shooting some portraits of some friends several years ago and saw a similar situation, below. Many viewers might see an argument between these two where in fact there was none. But the fraction of a second slice of life leads us to believe otherwise. I would not normally think of this as subversion, but now..... maybe.

Paul and Dolly (1 of 1).jpg
LornaMcHardy 5 years ago

I haven't got an image, but I understand it as the visual equivalent of saying "that's lovely" in a tone that clearly says "I don't like it one bit". Not sure how you'd do that visually, though. It's easy verbally.
~ Meredith ~ 5 years ago
Hey glad that its given you a different way of seeing things. For me that's what these challenges are all about :) I like the example you've shown too. It would be easy to intuit that they'd had an argument from this.

Hi I'm not sure the message has to be something negative. A quick trawl on google came up with the following definition:

sub•vert (səbˈvɜrt)

1. to overthrow (something established or existing).
2. to cause the downfall or ruin of.
3. to undermine the principles of; corrupt.

While the 2nd and 3rd points would appear to imply the negative (I don't know that its necessarily the case, think the over throw of Hitler or women gaining the right to vote) in terms of this challenge point 1 would seem to fit.

In my case I'm trying to break the fear I have of being in front of the camera. I'd really like to do more portrait work but I think my own hang ups get in the way of the portraits I am trying to take. I'm looking at this as an opportunity to break some boundaries I've put on myself and perhaps some photographic rules along the way. Whether its successful or not, time will tell but it feels important that I try. And that being the case, here is my first attempt...

#5 Headsprung
LornaMcHardy Posted 5 years ago. Edited by LornaMcHardy (member) 5 years ago
~ Meredith ~:

I agree, not necessarily negative... that was just an example. But the opposite - or at least very different - from the actual words.
Or image. I think Michael's image is superb in this respect; it's either genius, incredible luck, or both :0)

I still don't see where bravery comes into it but then, reading John's and Photodrum's comments, it seems to me now that the brief is, in fact, a choice of two: something brave (whatever that may mean), or something subversive.
I'll may or may not find/ think of something subversive over the next couple of weeks :0)
photodrum PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by photodrum (member) 5 years ago
~ Meredith ~:

I think your selfie fits the post perfectly on two fronts: Tackling an image of yourself where that's always been very uncomfortable and I think that it mirrors your apprehension in that the movement suggests a psychological dithering and ambivalence. The location of the shot also adds to the ambivalence: inside, where you're enclosed and protected - maybe even trapped - and a view through the window to open, free spaces. Moreover, you seem to be smiling toward the open space and emotionless in the front view. Also the left side - the inside part is very dark - at the edge completely underexposed, while the right hand side - the outside lets the light shine through - adding to the dichotomy.
~ Meredith ~ 5 years ago
Thanks very much . It's really helpful to hear how others see this. Dithering is a very good word for what I've been doing :) I like the idea of showing enclosed/trapped vs open/free too. Not sure I've even thought of it like that before. My unconscious come to life perhaps.
photodrum PRO 5 years ago
Submitted for consideration, here is my probable final entry for challenge #5: Caution Grotto.

Caution Grottoe - 26x26 Challenge #5 - Be Inspired to be brave jpg
johnpaddler PRO 5 years ago
- Too much photoshop, I think.
david_gillett 5 years ago
I can see how it could be brave but I'd agree with John I'm afraid.
Larking About Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Larking About (member) 5 years ago
LornaMcHardy: I do understand your dislike for street photography, I think people tend to either like it or not and I do also understand your disapproval of my shot this week. Believe it or not even within street photography a lot of us have codes of conduct - I personally tend to photograph people for very positive things I like about them or the scene, and try to not be exploitative. The shot I submitted may be seen by some to subvert that latter practice somewhat (hence submission for this brief) but her identity is not shown. I genuinely see street photography as a celebration of the uniqueness of people and moments.
~ Meredith ~ 5 years ago
I like the idea behind this Fred and yes I can see the bravery in constructing it. I have no religious affiliations myself and have often wondered at the fervency that it inspires. I know that you love enhancing images with PS and you've created some amazing shots but I wonder if it might also be brave to consider pulling back on this for this challenge. I'd be inclined to remove the glow and the rays surrounding the Madonna. What do you think?
Julia M Cameron PRO 5 years ago
Larking About:

Thanks for taking this photograph! It is a record of the time in which we live.
have never found your work to be disrespectful to those you photograph and have nothing but admiration for your amazing ability to find "the moment" in the most unlikely scenes on the street!
Julia M Cameron PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Julia M Cameron (admin) 5 years ago
This challenge has brought about quite a range of responses of the interpretation of "brave". For some it is the first shot of a person, a portrait, or street shot, for others locating themselves in a dangerous place and for others a personal challenge "to do different".
It leaves some of us in a tricky position...we appear to have little fear (at least in photographic terms) and so "bravery" is less perceptible without an accompanying "back story".

Maybe we need to think outside the box a bit harder and not go for obvious solutions to the Challenges.
It seems to me that it is usually quite easy to put a picture in the pool that will "do", it is just adequate and on a good day with the wind behind us we can convince ourselves that it is a good fit for the progress as photographers really though.

What we need in 26 by 26 is some brave photography...really pushing ourselves to do better, try harder, achieve more in terms of creativity and technique.
Let's see some wild thinking and strong images connected to the Challenges!
Go 26ers for a Brave New World of Photography!
LornaMcHardy 5 years ago
Larking About:

I am a little surprised that you see it this way. The woman is entirely recognizable, as is the man on the left... if I knew her, I would recognize her.
It's my personal opinion that this is essentially a photograph of an unsuspecting stranger in an embarrassing moment, placed on the internet for everyone to have a cheap laugh at and has absolutely nothing to do with bravery or subversion.... I find it entirely exploitative. I find it an irresponsible use of a camera.
How would you feel if that was a photo of someone you care deeply about?

As a friend of mine pointed out, this is the kind of image that gives ammunition to the anti-photography lobby to have street photography banned.
LornaMcHardy 5 years ago
Julia M Cameron:

"record of the time in which we live"... well, in the sense that it is seen as not only acceptable but "brave" to take unflattering or embarrassing photos of unwitting strangers to post on the internet for all to see, perhaps it is.
But respectful it is not.
Julia M Cameron PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Julia M Cameron (admin) 5 years ago

Lorna, you have already stated you don't photograph people because you don't like people taking pictures of you without your "consent".
That is no reason to prevent others from taking candid shots.
There is a long tradition of candid photography. Would you suggest that these historical images be "banned" too?

The woman in question chose to wear that dress in public. I see nothing distasteful in her attire only the interpretation laid upon it.
Seems more like a Marilyn Monroe white dress moment to me than an affront to the woman's dignity.
Simon five Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Simon five (member) 5 years ago
People go out into the world with a presentation of themselves that they like. A photographer records that.
A photograph holds no judgement, it can only record what is there.

It seems arrogant for anybody to then say "I don't think this person looks good". Who is anybody to judge?

That is what is in the world. Street photography makes no judgement, the viewer brings their own.
Simon five 5 years ago

Just seen your Grotto shot. I approve.
Mark W Russell Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Mark W Russell (admin) 5 years ago
I have stayed away from much of the above debate, as I believe that if a individual wishes to not participate because of their views or ethical position on a challenge, then that is their decision.

If individuals decide to comment on others pictures, perpetuating their own views then they should expect that individual to defend their position/picture and it is likely others will add their views as well.

Therefore can I suggest an acceptance that candid portraiture or street photography has a place in the history of photography.

Street photography is a genre of photography that features subjects in candid situations within public places and does not necessitate the presence of a street or even the urban environment.

'Street' simply refers to a place where human activity can be seen, a place to observe and capture social interaction. The subject can even be absent of any people and can be that of object or environment where an object projects a human character or an environment is decidedly human.

Framing and timing are key aspects of the craft, with the aim of creating images at a decisive or poignant moment. Street photography delivers a true depiction of the world by mirroring images of society, displaying "unmanipulated" scenes, with usually unaware subjects. During the course of its evolution, street photography has provided a diverse and detailed record of street culture. Street photography is defined by its candidness.

I do wonder how the subject matter of a considerable amount of other photography; be it documentary, photojournalism, war photography would be viewed in terms of personal views or an ethical position.

For me the world would be a far poorer place without the advent of street photography in its many guises. I also wonder what we would do with the output of the following:-

Christophe Agou
Yūtokutaishi Akiyama
Nobuyoshi Araki
James Barnor
Henri Cartier-Bresson
Mark Cohen
Joan Colom
Bill Cunningham
Maciej Dakowicz
Peter Dench
Robert Doisneau
Ken Domon
Don Donaghy
Nikos Economopoulos
Alfred Eisenstaedt
Robert Frank
Leonard Freed
George Georgiou
Bruce Gilden
Shigeo Gochō
Hiroshi Hamaya
Erich Hartmann
Tadahiko Hayashi
Yasuhiro Ishimoto
Richard Kalvar
Osamu Kanemura
Andre Kertesz
Hiroh Kikai
Ihei Kimura
William Klein
Seiji Kurata
Kineo Kuwabara
Jens Olof Lasthein
Guy Le Querrec
Arthur Leipzig
Helen Levitt
Vivian Maier
Louis Mendes
Joel Meyerowitz
Inge Morath
Daidō Moriyama
Shigeichi Nagano
Masatoshi Naitō
Mitsugu Ōnishi
Trent Parke
Martin Parr
Mark Powell
Raghu Rai
Willy Ronis
Boris Savelev
Jamel Shabazz
Irakly Shanidze
Raghubir Singh
W. Eugene Smith
David Solomons
Paul Strand
Louis Stettner
Beat Streuli
Alfred Stieglitz
Issei Suda
Homer Sykes
Yutaka Takanashi
Takeyoshi Tanuma
Alexey Titarenko
Toyoko Tokiwa
Haruo Tomiyama
Garry Winogrand
Michael Wolf
Tom Wood
Michio Yamauchi
Nakaji Yasui

....just to mention a few.
~ Meredith ~ 5 years ago
Julia M Cameron:

One of the reasons I signed up to 26by26 was for precisely the reasons you've stated Julia :) Though I participated in 52by52 last year I came to it around half way through and never felt like I'd really given it the attention it needed to do it justice. There were too many other distractions going on at the time.

Something has changed for me this time round. Some of those distractions have disappeared and I feel a difference in myself, more free & focused somehow, if that makes sense. So I'm grabbing this opportunity and running with it. Maybe it won't always go to plan (what in life does) but right now I can feel the excitement building each fortnight when Thursday and a new challenge rolls around and that is an amazing feeling. What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?

Thanks again to you, David and the rest of the team for taking the time to organise this. Loving every minute :)
~ Meredith ~ 5 years ago
Mark Russell123:

Well said Mark :)
IngeHG PRO 5 years ago
What about the responsibility of a 'street' or candid photographer then? When we were discussing Challenge no 2 and I mentioned something about homeless people and altruism somebody said that street photographers had ethics about capturing homeless people because it might be exploitative. How is capturing a potential embarrassing moment of somebody who hasn't asked to be photographed not exploitative ?

Just to explain, I'm European but I've lived in SE Asia for a long time and while candid photography has never been my thing I did once capture a moment where a young couple in minimal clothing, because they had been competing in a dragon boat competition, slept (girl with head on guy's stomach) in public. It was a sweet image but I realised that I didn't know if they were an acknowledged couple, whether their parents would mind seeing something like this etc, and so I never published it.
Mark W Russell 5 years ago

Hi Inge
I cannot answer for all street photographers and IMO each photographer has to make up their own mind about the ethical position of what they are photographing.
I certainly would not photograph homeless people as I do believe it exploitative. Yet some photographs I have seen of homeless people by Don McCullin taken in the 60's were some of the most moving and sensitive pictures I have seen.
I take real care not to photograph certain subjects or certain scenes, but that is a personal choice. You made a choice in the example you quoted above.
There is much editorial and advertising photography which I believe is far more exploitative than many a street photograph.
LornaMcHardy 5 years ago
Julia M Cameron:

Why the inverted commas around the word consent? It's completely unambiguous. People either give consent to having their photos taken and published on the internet, or they don't.
If you choose to ignore the fact that many people would not, and take candid photos of them anyway, and publish them on the internet, you have to accept that you are using people for your own purposes without their consent. I think this is fundamentally unethical, although I accept that there can be good reasons for doing it anyway. And there's the rub.

I'm not suggesting anything be banned, I'm suggesting that people should use their cameras responsibly; or to put it another way, I think any photos you have taken and published of people who have no idea you're doing this and would probably have asked you not to had they known, should have something of importance to say other than "Hahaha, good one, classic shot, hilarious".
I also pointed out that images serving no purpose other than giving viewers somebody to laugh at is ammunition to those who do want to see street photography banned... I take it that's not something you would wish to see happen.

But as you've pointed out, that's the way the world wags... setting people up to be laughed at and made fun of is something that's widely accepted as the norm and perfectly ok in our culture, not just in photography.
I think this is wrong. Unkind, unfair, and wrong.

As for announcing that it's her fault for the way she chooses to dress... do I really have to answer that one? I mean... seriously?
LornaMcHardy 5 years ago
Simon five:

I think that's a little specious, Simon. Photography does not just record reality; it snatches moments. These can be anything from stark truth (as in some of the best of photography, street or otherwise) to completely and utterly misleading.
There is also a vast difference between being ok with whatever it is you've chosen to do, and having it recorded in perpetuity on the internet for the consumption of the entire world. And in this case, I think it very difficult to argue that the woman chose to be exposed in this way... she was caught in the second the wind got her.

You appear to be arguing that the photographer has no responsibility at all for what he chooses to record. And even if you accept that - which I don't - you seem also to be suggesting he has no responsibility for what he chooses to publish.
I disagree. Profoundly.
Simon five 5 years ago

It comes down to this. If you don't want to post the picture you have taken because of a scruple you hold - don't post it.
Other people may have different ideas and you can't veto their choices.
Simon five Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Simon five (member) 5 years ago

Photographs can only be of reality. All else is in the eye of the beholder.
LornaMcHardy Posted 5 years ago. Edited by LornaMcHardy (member) 5 years ago
Mark Russell123:

"If individuals decide to comment on others pictures, perpetuating their own views then they should expect that individual to defend their position/picture and it is likely others will add their views as well.

Therefore can I suggest an acceptance that candid portraiture or street photography has a place in the history of photography."

Has anyone suggested otherwise?
I'm not denying that the genre has a place, or suggesting it is of no value.
But what I'm seeing here, is an image that most people would hate to see of themselves plastered all over the internet, for no apparent purpose other than to make people laugh.

And so far, the only person who has acknowledged that there might actually be some ethical issues with this, is the photographer herself. That I can respect regardless of my opinion of the image or the arguments made.
LornaMcHardy Posted 5 years ago. Edited by LornaMcHardy (member) 5 years ago
Simon five:

Ah.... the only answer to that one I can think of is "utter nonsense". :0)) Looks as though we'll have to agree to disagree!

I think of it as similar to an archaeological dig. Those are by their nature fragmented, so you will rarely get the whole picture; it's putting together a puzzle and filling in the bits in the most likely way possible. Photography likewise can never be more than bits, and biased, edited bits at that since the photographer will make choices about which to publish. That is a reality of sorts, but it can be incredibly misleading and it is simply wrong - and, I think, a little naive - to suggest that photography, by some sort of immutable definition, shows truth.

It shows whatever the photographer wants to show. No more, no less. That's where the responsibility thing comes in.
Julia M Cameron PRO 5 years ago

"I may not agree with what you have to say, but I'll defend to my death your right to say it"

Simon five 5 years ago

I agree to disagree. We could argue the history of art, the revisions of meaning, the colour that social mores cast over things and the mutations that are the lot of all interpretations until the crack of doom.

But we won't.
Julia M Cameron PRO 5 years ago
~ Meredith ~:

Thanks Meredith. Glad you are enjoying the challenges and getting lots out of them.
sobrenivel Posted 5 years ago. Edited by sobrenivel (member) 5 years ago
@ Lorna:

Sorry for the delay in answering.

In Challenge # 4 I was really out of my zone of comfort asking someone to take his/her portrait.
As my works are always candid scenes, my first thoughts and feelings about this new one was similar to the previous one .

Sorry for my bad english


Challenge # 4 required bravery to me.
Mark W Russell 5 years ago


I wonder if you do not wish to see the spirit of my earlier message was an attempt to offer an olive branch; in which I noted your wish not to participate in this challenge and/or you are determined to peruse your views in relations to others postings.

I was attempting to say that we acknowledge your views but other individuals may have different views to yours and have the right to post their selected picture.

If you take the trouble to read my response to IngeHG's points raised I did also note the ethical issues involved and take exception to your comments that nobody but Danielle has acknowledged the ethical considerations.

I am not looking to extend discussions of these issues as whilst I and others acknowledge your position and have attempted to encourage you to take a broader view of the possibilities of this challenge, you have remained entrenched and appear unwilling to move on.

This is a genuine attempt not to bury this debate but to note your position and state that we encourage a diversity of views and opinions.However, that when it reaches a stalemate it serves no useful purpose but inevitably gets personal and we wish to engender a spirit of positive encouragement and development.

LornaMcHardy 5 years ago

That makes sense, thank you
P.S. there is absolutely nothing wrong with your English :0))
LornaMcHardy 5 years ago
Mark Russell123:

I answered you before I read your answer to Inge, Mark. I think we might be at cross-purposes here... I have acknowledged, several times, that I have no desire to ban anything - I think that a poor response to things you don't like. But I am entitled to an opinion that does not agree with the majority.
Which is why I'm discussing the issue, and responding to others' responses in the expectation of some informed debate from people who obviously know the subject, being photographers themselves. It appears that such discussion is unwelcome.
Noted. Fair enough.
Mark W Russell 5 years ago

For me there becomes a point when images can stop being photographs and become manipulated graphic montages; this is one of them.
I think we have maintained this group is about photography.
Simon five 5 years ago
Mark Russell123:

I agree...but he was being brave.
Mark W Russell 5 years ago
Simon five:

Simon five 5 years ago
Cos he knew what we would say!
scala66/Paul Marsh PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by scala66/Paul Marsh (member) 5 years ago
@mark. I getting a little confused as to what the rules exactly are.

Firstly. "After a team discussion we've altered our rules so that any post-production is now acceptable".

Then. "" For me there becomes a point when images can stop being photographs and become manipulated graphic montages; this is one of them.
I think we have maintained this group is about photography".

Pls tell me where we are going.
Mark W Russell 5 years ago

I have to say I was expressing a personal view (I started with "For me...") but I take your point this could been seen as a Team (Moderator) view. So my apologies for any confusion.

Our "official" position is that stated in the Rules and FAQs.
david_gillett Posted 5 years ago. Edited by david_gillett (admin) 5 years ago
Also there's more details here:

Last year the rule "No heavy photo editing" seemed to suffice, with most members finding their own level for what this meant. Very broadly speaking the majority seemed to hold similar views in regards to post-production.

With lots of new members this year the group's ethos needed to be somewhat more explicitly expressed. We came to realise that the level of post-production was an impossible rule to maintain but sprang from the intention to keep the group's focus within the genre of photography.

That's why the rule was changed to "We only accept photographs into the group pool". It's not a shift of focus but an acceptance that the issue is around the final product and not how the image arrived there.

With a group that accepts images from most genres of photography and a wide spectrum of views on image manipulation it's an attempt to find the right level of guidance. It's not perfect but I believe it's workable.

..."illustrations, 3D art, graphic design, collages or typography do not fall within the remit of project."

The way in which your image has been composited Fred means it is heading towards collage. Whether it would be acceptable within the group rules is contentious, personally I would say yes, just.

It's a highly subjective matter where there are no right or wrong answers, it just comes down to what a particular Flickr group finds comfortable.

I hope that's helped.
photodrum PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by photodrum (member) 5 years ago
Mark Russell123:
After following the last several posts about photos vs graphics, OK, I get it. The originators and moderators of this group have a tight definition of what constitutes a photograph vs what is graphic design and related 2 dimensional static media. From this point forward, I will try to stick to the original intent of the groups leaders.
That said, I would bring up the point that the word "Photography" literally means "writing with light." Under that fundamental definition, I would think that it could include any image that was recorded on film or on a sensor. Moreover, I believe that any image weather singular in origin or composed of any n (n=0 to infinity) components, as long as it singularly composed from light (as compared with images drawn, painted, scratched in sand, etc,) that image is "written with light", thus a photograph. My personal definition broadly hews to the original etymology and is not constrained to the mere passive and singular recording of a person, place or thing.

As an aside, I wonder how pre-digital manipulated images from the likes of Maurice Guilbert (remember his famous double portrait of Toulouse-Lautrec from 1892), Man Ray, Jerry Uelsmann, George Seeley, Grete Stern, Edward Steichen, Oscar Rejlander, Philippe Halsman (the iconic Marilyn Mao image), and others would be received here.

Back to the intent of the group: Because I am and wish to remain a member, I will follow the intent of the group's creators and l constrain my image making here to minimally or non-processed images, unless otherwise specifically directed to pursue a more manipulative path by a challenge or as exemplified by the body of work of the challenge's originator.
Its all good! I like making photographs, whether processed or not!
~ Meredith ~ 5 years ago

I think you should submit this pic for this challenge Fred. Though I mentioned pulling back on PS, for me that's not the key point here. The message behind the image is (again for me) what signifies bravery.
Mark W Russell Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Mark W Russell (admin) 5 years ago

Hi Fred
NOTE: Anything I say below is my personal view and not that of the 26 by 26 team.
I almost wish I had not commented on your photograph, in that I do not want to open the can of worms of a discussion that the degrees of manipulation debate got the Admins and moderators into at the start of 26 by 26.
I cannot disagree at all with your extremely well reasoned, logical argument about a definition of photography. It has made me think about what motivated us in the original project (52 by 52) and if that was a specific concern regarding degrees of manipulation or just a coming together of like minds.
The outcome (compromise) we came to in our discussions and the rule definition in the 26 by 26 team for this project was that to try and draw a line in the sand of what was acceptable or not was a nonsense. For all the reasons you outline in your points raised above we could always find arguments/examples for more or less use of manipulation.
If I recall one of the feelings we had in the Team was that the "wisdom of crowds" would prevail in that somewhere between the challenge setters and the approach of the members, some kind of alchemy would prevail.
I can only say why I started participating in 52 by 52, and that might give you some insight into how my mind works on this one, but I cannot speak for the other team members.
I was first attached to the group, because it was not genre specific; I had virtually been shooting "street" exclusively for two year and I was getting stale and frustrated.
I wanted to work within a challenge driven group where the projects were set by individuals of note.
I did not want to be part of a group/s that were technically driven. Discussion of F stops and DoF, etc, never mind the SP discussions of curves, etc. just turned me off. This might show my particular prejudices but pursuing the idea comes first for me. You find the technical solution as a secondary consideration.
I think this is where the crux of the matter lies. One only has to look through Flickr Explore to see lots of technically superb shots that are just that and little else; no content and narrative. I recognize many would argue achieving high technical standards is the pinnacle of their work.
To give an example, I wince at many of the photographs one sees in Flickr where HDR has been applied so much that it looks like some LSD induced experience. More often than not it is JUST manipulation.
For me this is where this community moves off in a different direction. It often goes off well beyond the single word challenges one sees in many newspaper/magazine/blog challenges. It introduces you to noted practitioners you may not of heard of, and their work and approaches and outputs. It gives you the chance to try and fail miserably.But if you do not try you will never know what you missed.
So in summation my view has been to try to work and post pictures in this group which try to respond appropriately to the intention of the challenge and not to use technique or methods purely to enhance a poor concept or lazy thinking.
Phew - that has got that off my chest! I hope it explains a little where I am coming from and where I hope this group continues on its uncharted journey.
best wishes
Simon five 5 years ago
Mark Russell123:

Very well put.
scala66/Paul Marsh PRO 5 years ago
totally agree mark.
photodrum PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by photodrum (member) 5 years ago
~ Meredith ~:

This grotto has always struck me as a contradiction to it's self. Here we see a statue praying to a statue. Using this and bringing in elements that one might see in a religious tract, I wanted to speak to the idea of religious symbology and the belief in miracles. In keeping with the brief, I also asked myself how I might subvert the image. One method to counter an adversary, lets say in a courtroom proceeding, is to slavishly adhere to your opponents point of view to the point of excess. If his argument does not rest on an unshakeable base, the follies of his argument will show themselves for what they are. So, part of the subversion lies in the image being overdone. I've presented a "blessed miracle" - a way-over-the-top tacky-religious-trackty blessed miracle". To further question the idea and to subvert the image, I have applied a textual message in the form of common caution tape. It is not a new technique. Rene Magritte famously wrote on his painting of a pipe "Ceci n'est pas une pipe". The tape, even without the text, hints of a crime scene or the site of an accident - ideas that are in opposition to a miracle. Adding a cautionary message reinforces the subversion. The squashed "X" pattern of the tape hints back to the crucifix while barring the viewer from access to the miracle. Without the "heavy" photoshop, it would not be as strong an image.
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