52 by 52 7:31am, 26 April 2012
Challenge #35: Photograph your feelings in a state of boredom.
— Gerd Ludwig

Gerd adds...

“As a photographer who shoots a lot on assignment for National Geographic Magazine, I sometimes find myself in a place where I feel completely bored. I sit there and think, 'What am I doing here, how am I supposed to make an interesting photograph here?'

What I have found, is that if I consciously and intellectually look around me, and try to search out the individual objects creating my sense of boredom, I will open up and discover what is actually in front of my eyes. Maybe it's just a lonely pair of shoes sitting against a blank wall, but all of a sudden, it clicks - that is the picture, that scene is communicating the truth of what is there.

It's a process, a vehicle, I use to get me out of being unproductive because I am feeling bored, and into a place where I can make meaningful images.”


“Gerd Ludwig was born in Alsfeld, Germany. Initially he studied German literature, political science, and physical education at the University of Marburg, but interrupted his studies to travel in Scandinavia and North America while supporting himself with jobs as a bricklayer, sailor, gardener, and dishwasher. Gerd later returned to Germany and studied photography for five years at the Folkwangschule in Essen.

Gerd re-located to New York 1984 and continued to photograph for major international publications. In the early 1990s, he signed on as a contract photographer for National Geographic Magazine, focusing on the social changes in Germany and Eastern Europe. This work resulted in the publication of his book, Broken Empire: After the Fall of the USSR, a ten-year retrospective published by National Geographic, and established his reputation as the world’s foremost color photographer covering the region.

Now based in Los Angeles, Gerd Ludwig is represented by the exclusive Institute for Artist Management. While he continues to work for National Geographic Magazine, he occasionally shoots advertising, exhibits his photographs in galleries and museums, lectures at universities, and conducts workshops internationally.”

View Gerd's website >


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. We're looking forward to hearing your thoughts this week.

— 52 by 52 team
Julia M Cameron PRO 6 years ago
32 hours and no discussion? Where is everybody?
Hopefully, there'll be a bit of time at the weekend to talk about the challenge.
bart1eby 6 years ago
WIth the amount of editing my current portrait series is taking I was sorely tempted to take a photo of my wacom stylus but opted for the dying tulips that meet my blank stare each time I take a coffee break and fail to remind me that my wife wants me to throw them out...

#35 dying tulip triptych
~ Meredith ~ 6 years ago
I enjoyed this assignment. Boredom was one of the reasons I started documenting my daily commute so it's nice to see what others (including a professional) produce when gripped by boredom too :)
david_gillett 6 years ago
I'm a big fan of your commuter shots Meredith, I tried a few myself but couldn't really get them to work.

It wasn't hard to search out the source of my boredom this weekend, the endless rain keeping me trapped indoors. So taking Gerd's advice I headed out, iPhone in hand, to tackle it head on!

The shots were taken using an app called QuadCamera which takes the images from a burst mode and composites them into a single frame. The end result is definitely inspired by Julia's wonderful shot of a wet drain (!) and Ben's triptych.

The repetition of nearly identical images within the single frame seemed to reflect the feeling of boredom I felt staring out of my kitchen window.

I'm mulling over which to submit at the moment, opinions welcome!

#35 by david_gillett
Julia M Cameron PRO Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Julia M Cameron (admin) 6 years ago
Thanks David...the rain has certainly been a factor this weekend!

Here is my set.
Mark W Russell Posted 6 years ago. Edited by Mark W Russell (moderator) 6 years ago
I was taken by Gerd's thoughts on "boredom" and reflected on my practice to shoot everyday even if I do not have a "target" in mind. I go out and walk the streets. It often feels like Zen moments.
Often I park up a distance from the area I have decided to try shooting in and on the way just randomly shoot, to check on light, focus, etc. so when I reach my area I have decided to try shooting in I am warmed up. Its like an athlete doing warm-ups.
As Gerd says, "...but all of a sudden, it clicks - that is the picture, that scene is communicating the truth of what is there."
david_gillett 6 years ago
I like your athlete metaphor Mark. I used to wait for a scene/subject to present itself before getting my camera out of the bag but lately I've been trying to limber up by taking shots I know I'll be unhappy with just as a way of getting up to speed.
~ Meredith ~ 6 years ago
Gotta agree about that metaphor too. Best bit of advice I ever got was when you're stuck just start shooting. Works (nearly) every time :)
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