26 by 26 8:59am, 7 March 2013
Challenge #1: Take a subject as far out of context as possible.
— Andrew Zuckerman

Blue-fronted Parrot from BIRD

Tuesday Edition: Blue-fronted Parrot_00032 by Andrew Zuckerman

Slow Loris from CREATURE

Andrew Wyeth from WISDOM


(all images are the copyright of Andrew Zuckerman)

Noted filmmaker and photographer, Andrew Zuckerman, utilizes a multitude of platforms to produce work that is systematically executed, conceptually based, and democratically presented. Minimalist in nature, Zuckerman aims to create atmospheres of clarity and neutrality to facilitate the viewer's access to the material.

Zuckerman studied at the International Center of Photography before going on to receive his BFA from the School of Visual Arts. He first made his mark on the publishing world with the 2007 release of CREATURE, a compendium of intimate animal portraits set against Zuckerman's signature white background. He has since explored this distinctive approach – which divorces subjects from their context and equalizes the larger conversation between them – in four additional critically acclaimed multi-media projects: WISDOM (2008), BIRD (2009), MUSIC (2010), and FLOWER (2012).


We're hoping this challenge thread will act as a focal point for discussion around the challenge, including your initial reactions, thoughts about how to "solve it" and any links you think might help the group. It 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 tend to think of the group pool as a shared sketchbook rather than necessarily a gallery of finished images and so always encourage members to try techniques, approaches or aesthetics they haven't previously attempted.

- What's your views on the challenge?
- How will having two weeks to create an image affect your approach?
- Does a photo you've previously taken fit the challenge?
- Is there an artist (in any medium) that you think has approached the subject successfully before?
- Will you follow Zuckerman's lead in terms of subject matter or choose a more lateral path?

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, also old photos are only permissible in the discussion threads and not the group pool)
scala66/Paul Marsh PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by scala66/Paul Marsh (member) 5 years ago
Excellent. And away we go. Really glad to get going again.
Mark W Russell 5 years ago
Taking a subject out of its context was a method used by surrealist artists in the early 20th century. This created unusual juxtaposition or visual jolts.
Julia M Cameron PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Julia M Cameron (admin) 5 years ago
Old photos that fit the brief:

Simon 31.12.11 Hand and Leg detail from photo #18 above

Hear no evil
Julia M Cameron PRO 5 years ago
For those who are new...

How to post images to a discussion thread...
1.Open the picture to be posted, at top left of picture find "Share" and click on this to get drop-down menu.
2. Click on "Grab the HTML/BBC code....this appears in the box below.
3. Beneath the box choose the size...Medium 640 is pretty good and just check that the HTML button below is checked (usually does this automatically)
4. Copy the HTML code by clicking in the box, highlighting the code, go to "Edit" and "copy"
5. Open the discussion thread and "paste" image into next available empty box "Add your comment here..." box by going to "Edit" and "paste"...
Code will appear in the box, add any words you want to include, then click "POST COMMENT"

Mark W Russell 5 years ago
"Imagine there's an elephant in the room......." - Instruction #30 "Remember Robert Capa's words: "If your pictures aren't good enough, your're not close enough". - Andrew Glickman
photodrum PRO 5 years ago
My first reaction was to completely remove the subject from it's original context; it is the image posted in the group pool. My SECOND reaction, here, was to take it one step further by reinserting the original image into a totally unrelated context, and changing scale.

Non-native species revised.jpg
Julia M Cameron PRO 5 years ago
Having two whole weeks to create the "resolved" photograph is such a luxury after the weekly 52 by 52 Challenges. My plan is to spend the first few days brainstorming ideas and "playing" with them. After that some photographs to try out some ideas, but not excluding any other approaches. Then comes the tough bit....deciding which idea to follow through to the resolution! This will be tough for me as I have a tendency to rush in, however sometimes the first idea is the best!
My catchphrase for this year "Take my time"!
global.local PRO 5 years ago
Art & About 2011

Looking forward to starting 26 by 26. Will definitely be a challenge for me - a welcome one!
Emma Georgiou PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Emma Georgiou (admin) 5 years ago
Not sure where I'm going with this yet, but I've just had a quick flick through my old photos and I think these two come closest to the challenge.

Snow chair by Emma Georgiou

The bear by Emma Georgiou
Larking About 5 years ago
I am going to try an approach this from a candid perspective - finding something that seems out of context rather than creating it through the medium. Well that's today's plan anyway!
~ Meredith ~ 5 years ago
Ooh this is a great start. No clear idea yet of how I might interpret it but definitely looking forward to seeing what everyone does. In terms of old photos I've got these to offer

Challenge #19 Cool Heads


sobrenivel 5 years ago
Old photos that fit the brief:

What do you like: Mate or Coca-Cola?

Instruction # 43  - The bucket ?
johnpaddler PRO 5 years ago
Totally Photographically Challenged again, that's me - almost no photos in my archives that fit this. There is context in all of them, except some flowers close up against the sky?

Perhaps this one:

sucking lemons
[But what would it be without the title?]

And this one plays with context:

R1106131421GF P1430265is
bart1eby 5 years ago
a couple from the archives -

monolith #1 (remix for DG)

#37 detached

#35 dying tulip triptych
Eileen Wilkinson (Vistna) Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Eileen Wilkinson (Vistna) (member) 5 years ago
Found these in my photostream that seem to fit Andrew Zuckermans work

22/52 K is for (High) Key

Faded beauty
BeccaG PRO 5 years ago
Great challenge to kick off with and it's certainly making me think lots. I spent some time yesterday researching 'out of context' and it certainly covers a broad area so to speak. I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with.

Here is an old image of mine which kind of covers the subject.

Sofa with a view
Studyjunkie PRO 5 years ago
Here's an old (very old) one that fits the theme.
Autumn Leaves reflected 2
I am already playing with some ideas and feeling very enthusiastic for this challenge. The big choice for me will probably be between photographing something in a realist way but on a plain ground, like Andrew Zuckerman's images, removing an object from its context and then putting it into an alien context (love photodrum's stalking orchid) or shooting part of a familiar object in an abstract way so that the object is divorced from any meaningful context including the whole of itself.
Richard Brown 56 PRO 5 years ago
Of my existing shots this one springs to mind:-

Something you don't see everyday #2
photodrum PRO 5 years ago
~ Meredith ~:

The first image with all the heads on the wall has my thought processes churning - nothing definite yet, but a stream of partial ideas and images zooming in my head. I REALLY like this pic.
photodrum PRO 5 years ago
I hadn't even considering posting old images until everyone here has put up some interesting things. So..... here's a couple from the archives.

Drifting Tree

Mushroom in a Field.jpg
~ Meredith ~ 5 years ago
Thanks Fred :) Glad it's helped get the creative juices flowing. I love your tree shot. I wouldn't even begin to know how to do this. Looking forward to seeing more of your challenge responses :))
photodrum PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by photodrum (member) 5 years ago
~ Meredith ~:

It might seem like a big secret - a lot of Photoshop voodoo, but it's pretty much straight from the camera. I am a general contractor. Several years ago I was managing a project that required the relocation of some larger landscape trees. We dug this one up with a backhoe and flew it across the road with an 80' crane. I just happened to have my camera in my truck (that's a lie - I planned it all along!). I erased the cable from the image and did some sharpness and curves tweaking in PS, but that's it. It is truly amazing what having access to large construction equipment can do for your images!
K8ieSmith 5 years ago
My resolution for 26 by 26 is to show my 'workings out' and to leave a visual trail of my thought process which ultimately leads to my final selection for each challenge. I'm torn between stumbling across something which appears to be out of context for #1 and engineering a situation that follows the challenge to the word by 'taking' the subject out of context. I went with the first approach today and took a photo of a Greek Taverna in wet Derby but also visited the Caravan Gallery which made me think about taking the traditional gallery experience out of context.
Format Festival 2013
Fromo99 5 years ago
Like K8ie I can see two ways forward here. I might decide to remove the context, e.g. by having a Zuckerman-style white background - or maybe black as here:


Alternatively, I might take the subject away from it's context, as here:

The Eleventh Hour and beyond...

Now this second approach raises a question in my mind about the rules. No heavy photo editing it says. Presumably that rules out my second example? Though it does say anything possible in a darkroom is fine by us. Now I understand there was a lot of trickery in them there darkrooms...
26 by 26 5 years ago
Hi ,
In answer to your question, yes I'm afraid that second image would lie outside the group's rules. We've nothing against post-processing it's just the extent to which it's employed.
clairekastelan Posted 5 years ago. Edited by clairekastelan (member) 5 years ago
"Lost Things"
"Lost Things"

These are from a set I did for my Uni folio last year called "Lost Things" which although I was working on the idea of items placed then left behind by people, I realise a lot of them fit the out of context brief. (These are my personal favourites)
scala66/Paul Marsh PRO 5 years ago
SPNC - Year 3 - Instruction # 05

? #2
g*treefrog Posted 5 years ago. Edited by g*treefrog (member) 5 years ago
cordilyne unused snap from 52 by 52.....but I am really thinking oh dear!
dacaccia 5 years ago

Julia M Cameron PRO 5 years ago

Set of work in progress
Simon five Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Simon five (member) 5 years ago
#1 26by26 Amaryllis on skin 0214
Amaryllis on Skin 0214
First try, "in the style of" but with some texture in the background
Palofperu PRO 5 years ago
#28 Chocoholic Greenfly

One shot for 52 last year - a chocolate rose from a birthday cake removed and placed in another context (rose bush) managed to temporarily confuse a greenfly.....or maybe s/he'd dropped in to add birthday greetings.
Mark W Russell 5 years ago
Work in progress:-
Barndillo 5 years ago
Are there different approaches to this? Shooting objects with a solid background removing all context, in the style of Zuckerman, is far from the expected context. Or is it just no context?
Alternatively shooting an object in a completely unanticipated context removes not only the expectation but transfers the subject to a totally different experience. Not only does this take you far away from the natural setting but potentially further again from the original context. However, this would still be using a context(!), although the subject may be out of place.

My interpretation is taking a subject "as far out of context" would be going beyond sterilising the subject by then moving the subject into a completely unexplained situation (e.g. Dead elephant inside a building, giant rubber duck in harbour, etc)
Mark W Russell 5 years ago

Hi Tom
I like your thought patterns on this one and look forward to seeing your solution. How each person puts their chosen subject in or out of any particular context; either through purely the shot (in camera) or through post- shot production is going to be interesting.
photodrum PRO 5 years ago
The idea of in or out of context is akin to a fundamental concept in art and has been since man started to paint on cave walls: figure/ground. The only way to absolutely remove a subject from it's context (read ground) is to do an extreme close up where only components of the subject are shown. Even this won't absolutely resolve the issue, though, because the context/ground then becomes the medium in/on which one is viewing that image. That context/ground can be paper, on a screen or on some other medium. When putting a subject on a monochromatic background, the background then becomes the new context. Even a blank background carries its own context and meaning. Removing the subject and placing it in another populated context or background does exactly the same thing. The meaning of the newly composited image now changes - the background's original meaning now playing off the subject's meaning creating a new interplay of meaning. So ....... taking a subject away from its context can only occur if one places it in a new context. People can do this without a camera by placing, say, a huge rubber duck in a pond or a huge donut in a street. A photographer can record that action or an artist or photographer can create his own visual juxtapositions. Either way its still the figure/ground conundrum.
Barndillo 5 years ago
I found this interesting article about context:

The article discusses three perspectives of context: internal, original and external
Julia M Cameron PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Julia M Cameron (admin) 5 years ago

Thanks for the link. Interesting ideas on "internal", "Original" and "External" contexts. Opens the field up a bit more than just removing the background or transposing the photograph in some way. I found this link too. It is about the way we interpret a photograph in the context of where we see it, the interpretation due to the context of viewing. An innocent photograph of people drinking in a Parisian bar then "stolen" and turned into a propaganda image...same picture, different context and meaning.

I wonder what context is 26 by 26 and to what extent do I consider the context of viewing when making my images?

Simon flesh reality 1

Embroidery 10
Simon five Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Simon five (member) 5 years ago
It is probably true to say that there is no such thing as a picture without context. Even blank white says something.

There seems to be a continuous spectrum between the Juxta shot, where the subject and the background are out of step, and the isolation approach where all there is in the shot is the subject.

There is another spectrum running from SP, where you make something from what the world throws at you, and the construction approach from photoshop programs or physical manipulation of the world.

Here is a constructed image, without using photoshop, which makes an image from what the world throws at you. It just took some manipulation of the world..

#1 26by26 Reach 0349a
Julia M Cameron PRO 5 years ago
Simon five:

We did have some fun with these "constructed" images...layer upon layer of "reality"!
Bit worried about my anatomy though...
Simon five 5 years ago
Green Pots and Logs shots
The green pots are a case of the subject completely overwhelming the context and the other seems to be the opposite.
Simon five Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Simon five (member) 5 years ago
Nothing exists in a vacuum. The brief has raised some really interesting philosophical questions and debates about perception, as it was probably intended to do.
Simon five 5 years ago
Julia M Cameron:
I think all three involved are worried about their anatomy
johnpaddler PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by johnpaddler (member) 5 years ago
In a HCSP discussion thread, came across some contextless shots by Wassink Lundgren
Julia M Cameron PRO 5 years ago
Love the link. What a great set of de-contextualised images. Taking the subject out of it's "home" really made me think about the actual context of the subject in the real world.
BeccaG PRO 5 years ago
There are some great links and things to think out in this thread, it has been very helpful.
Anniison PRO 5 years ago
Typically, as predicted by the Law of Sod, I got the image id originally wanted to create for this project this morning! With a two week restriction its seems the weather had other ideas for my creativity! I am still very pleased wih the image I entered, it was something that took me out of my comfort zone (posting an image I felt wasnt technically good enough) but ended well. Here is what I had wanted to put forward:

Wendy A. 5 years ago
I thought of this photo immediately when I saw this challenge. I took it last week when my young daughter was in the tub. Her hair is straight so when I noticed the waves and curls the water created, I loved it and wanted to capture it. Thoughts?

Floating Hair
dear_jem 5 years ago
From my old pics, this one feels pretty suitable. A cyclist in Barcelona on the waves of Greece


And a seagull having a cuppa - but they do tend to get all over the place

Fancy a cuppa
Eyal Greengrass 5 years ago
old photo, however i think it is suitable
BeccaG PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by BeccaG (member) 5 years ago

This is one of a few shots I tried earlier today, spent a while looking at angles and ways to shoot familiar things in different ways, doing so I'm hoping to remove them from the context we usually see them.

I still have a few more ideas up my sleeve to try yet.
martkelly Posted 5 years ago. Edited by martkelly (member) 5 years ago
Barrel out of place 26 by 26 Challenge #1 Take a subject as far out of context as possible. by martkelly

At first I thought that this one fitted the brief nicely , but then I realised that the task is to TAKE a subject out of context, not FIND a subject out of context.
Hmm, should I be locked up for some of the seriously weird images I am now conjuring up in my mind?

On second thoughts, is it out of context or out of place??
catt1871 PRO Posted 5 years ago. Edited by catt1871 (member) 5 years ago
Or is it to Take [a picture of] a subject out of context? In which case it would not matter whether the subject was deliberately moved or found in an unnatural state. Place is one type of context, surely?

I certainly found myself struggling to decide whether I wanted to take the normal context away from an object and replace it by another (the opposite), or to focus on the object so closely that the lack of context within the picture made the object unrecognisable.
catt1871 PRO 5 years ago
The oatmeal sandscape was my other thought:

Out of context by catt1871
Wendy A. Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Wendy A. (member) 5 years ago

I like the oatmeal sand - great idea!
~ Meredith ~ 5 years ago
I am struggling with this challenge. I can't seem to find a way to remove the subject from its context in a way that is obvious both to me and others. I've seen some cracking examples posted already but I am far from there myself. Feeling a bit frustrated at the moment. Back to the drawing board.
catt1871 PRO 5 years ago
I could tie myself up in further knots over the context thing. I posted the chosen pic on another site without explanation to see if there were comments. The only one was from someone else following this project. Something so random needs the context of the project brief.
LornaMcHardy 5 years ago
First thing I thought of was this, which I took last year for a photochallenge, the subject being "found object".

Week 12 - F for Found Object

Then I looked at the ones that remove the subject from all context whatsoever and present them against a uniform background; that seems to me a very literal interpretation, very simple, very clean, very beautiful. I love these.

And then I thought of this one, which is more of a surreal photoshoppy combination of images that don't belong together in any logical way... would this count, and would it be allowed in terms of photoshopping?

Floating bottle

In fact, the more I think about it, the wider and more complex the subject becomes! I like this :0)
I'm really looking forward to this challenge, and am delighted I found the group just in time for the first one!
david_gillett 5 years ago
Hi Lorna, firstly welcome to the group! Regarding your question of whether the second shot would be allowed in terms of photoshopping. We've recently had a change of rule regarding this :
The short answer in the case of the bottle image is yes it would be fine as it still could be described as sitting within the genre of photography,
LornaMcHardy 5 years ago

Thank you :0)
Wendy A. 5 years ago
~ Meredith ~:

I agree. I found this to be a difficult challenge that really stretched me. I also felt I over-analyzed this challenge as well. I almost wanted to over explain my final photo but in the end felt I would just leave it as is. While it was definitely out of my element, I am really excited and enjoying the project!
~ Meredith ~ 5 years ago

I think you've hit the nail on the head. That pretty much describes what I'm feeling :) Combine that with an obsessive need to get it "right" and you can see my problem. I need to stop thinking about it and just shoot!
BeccaG PRO 5 years ago
Wendy and Meredith: i'm glad i'm not the only one, I spent a lot of time over thinking it too.
spikebaylor 5 years ago
I was wondering what the group thought of this photo in regards to the theme. I think it feels out of context but at the same time maybe not enough?

DP-Week7-B&W-Hawk by spikebaylor
Mark W Russell Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Mark W Russell (admin) 5 years ago

Hi Dustin
Welcome to 26 by 26!
My personal reaction to this shot is that it does kind of fit the bill, in that you cannot see the wider context it was shot. But I suspect you also think this it does not work, as you would not have asked the question.
The danger with this challenge is to follow the style/solution of the challenger too much. Perhaps take a look at some of the other entries so far, and this might spark an idea.
In the end there may well not be a perfect solution and you have to go with what you have in two weeks.
Then there will be another challenge and you move on.
Look forward to our final entry.
Admin 26 by 26 team
Mark W Russell 5 years ago
Wendy A.:

~ Meredith ~:


IMO it is possible to think too much about finding a solution, or as Meredith says to get it "right". I do wonder if your thinking constrains the possibility as you are trying to think a solution in your heads rather than in your cameras.
I go out and shoot most days and not necessarily looking for a specific type of shot, but just shooting often gives me ideas.
In two weeks are you going to get the "right" shot? If you don't shoot are you going get a shot?
Hang loose
Admin 26 by 26 team
johnpaddler PRO 5 years ago
not my photo, but David Gil

Simon five 5 years ago
I struggled with shots that either explained too much or too little. It seemed to me that 'construction' was the gist of the challenge, rather than 'found'. It seemed to me that 'found' too easily strayed into juxta.
Wendy A. 5 years ago
Went to see what birds were at the lake this afternoon after work & just happened to see this - I laughed out loud at how perfect it was for this photo challenge. There was not a sole around (no pun intended) but yet there they were - just waiting for someone to find them.

Mark W Russell Posted 5 years ago. Edited by Mark W Russell (admin) 5 years ago
Hi to all our friends - old and new.
As of today’s date, of the 313 people who have signed up for the community 74 have popped their heads over the parapet and posted a picture in response to challenge one. That means that a further 239 of you are either sitting at home with your feet up watching what everyone else is doing or you are dashing round like you are possessed trying to get a shot. Whichever it is we would welcome your efforts, as challenge #2 will be posted on 21st March.
26 by 26 Admin Team
ash-brown 5 years ago
~ Meredith ~:

Pretty much agree with your comments on this first challenge. Really enjoyed it though
ash-brown Posted 5 years ago. Edited by ash-brown (member) 5 years ago
This was the other photo I was considering for challenge #1 instead of the penguin...

#1 Bank girl
Julia M Cameron PRO 5 years ago
Now we are heading towards Thursday, it might be fun to create galleries of your favourites from the challenge. Examples and a "how to" are on the #1 Galleries Discussion thread.
Larking About 5 years ago
@Julia and co - are you allowed submit retrospectively this year as you were last?
Mark W Russell 5 years ago
Larking About:

Hi Danielle
We have set the setting for the members to be able to load up one picture per week, therefore if you missed a challenge, you would be able to post the picture in week 1 of the next challenge and the picture for that particular challenge in the second week.

I hope that is clear. Get back to us if if is not.

Best wishes
26 by 26 Admin Team
Larking About 5 years ago
Yes that's clear - thanks Mark :)
Steve Leverett PRO 5 years ago
For 26 by 26 #1 I experimanted with several and worked a shortlist ... including ...
#1 Singin' in the Rain ... by Steve Leverett

#1 PostOffice Tower behind old buildings by Steve Leverett

#1 Taxi!! by Steve Leverett
Marilyn Maychak PRO 5 years ago
For the first challenge I found myself gravitating towards finding subjects out of context rather than creating a juxtaposition.

These are a few that I experimented with..
 by Marilyn Maychak

 by Marilyn Maychak

Challenge #1: Bird on a wire by Marilyn Maychak

 by Marilyn Maychak
gri2011 5 years ago
Sin título
Minikas1 5 years ago
Hmm, not sure if these two fit in!

Japan 014

Japan 032
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