52 by 52 9:07am, 2 February 2012
Find a situation or environment that puts you ill at ease, or embarrasses you, and make an image
— Benjamin Lowy

- One person's comfort zone is another's anxiety – what environments do you find disquieting?
- How does one convey a sense of one's own tension?
- Is embarrassment more spontaneous & fleeting than ill ease?
- Does that make it harder to capture?
- Does a photo you've previously taken fit the challenge?

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 discussion thread can also be a good place to include any old photos you have that fit the challenge.

As a photographer who has covered stories in extremely troubled parts of the world like Iraq, Afghanistan, Haiti and Darfur, uneasy, tense situations are an inherent part of Benjamin's work. His book Iraq | Perspectives won the CDS/Honickman First Book Prize after being selected by William Eggleston. Shot from the confines of a Humvee, Lowy offers a glimpse into the bleakness and desolation of a country ravaged by war.

Benjamin often uses his iPhone to document conflicts and has recently received a grant from the Magnum Emergency Fund for iLibya: Libya’s Growing Pains.


Iraq | Perspectives

“I strive to create images that will hopefully overcome the public’s apathy to news pictures from Iraq. Metaphorically speaking, these windows represent a barrier that impedes dialogue. These pictures show a fragment of Iraqi daily life taken by a transient passenger in a Humvee. The images are not intimate — they often show a distant and detached perspective of a country so empty, so desolate and of a situation so dire.”

iLibya 2 : Uprising by iPhone

On his use of the iPhone...
“ What writers do with prose, photographers do with style. I want to tell the story of Libya and make it look different than other wire images or 35mm -- that rectangular shape that everyone has grown accustomed to. If I can do that and make it harder for John Q. Public to turn away from the image, then I've been successful and it doesn't matter what tool I use.”


The environments Lowey places himself in are extreme but we all experience discomfort regularly in our daily lives, casting the tiniest shaft of light on these inner tensions could lead one down unexpected photographic avenues. That said we don't want to traumatise our members, so only be as uncomfortable as you feel comfortable!

We're constantly blown away with member's approaches to what might be considered demanding challenges, those briefs often seem to produce the most interesting photos. So as ever we're looking forward to hearing people's thoughts!

— 52 by 52 team
Julia M Cameron PRO 6 years ago
What a superb photographer....gritty realism without sentimentality.
This could be quite stressful this week. Putting oneself into uncomfortable or embarrassing places....or frightening/challenging on an emotional rather than physical level.
Joan 2
I'm still working on ideas on ageing and fears , uncertainty and the final certainty.
johnpaddler PRO Posted 6 years ago. Edited by johnpaddler (member) 6 years ago
It's important to have your cover story pat.

There was a degree discomfort here:
Duck, You Sucker!

Suffered disapproving frowns and giggles crouching for this one:
On the nod
david_gillett 6 years ago
What an incredibly powerful and unblinkingly honest image Julia.

You've caught discomfort really well here John. I'm a big fan of street photography but have always felt uneasy shooting strangers up close without their permission. I always end up taking a consensual street portrait. So I'm heading out onto the snowy streets of Bath now to see if I can fight that urge!
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