The 36 Exposures Challenge ~ A FILE/FLAK/CP Joint
These days, we love our digital cameras. They give us the freedom to explore photography as never before. We get instant feedback on our photographic experiments and find out what works and what doesn't; we can easily manipulate the results and correct our blunders; and to ensure we don't miss a shot, we shoot all the pictures our memory cards will hold. When we are done, we pack our hard drives with gigabytes of images and flood the web with our work.
But this ease of use and surfeit of images comes with a price. In the analog era, when we had to pay to see what we shot, we were more careful when we took photographs. This forced a discipline that is hard to imagine today. In the words of Stephen Shore, "[Today] there seems to be a greater freedom and lack of restraint...as one considers one's pictures less, one produces fewer truly considered pictures."
This is where our 36 Exposures Challenge -- brought to you by FILE and our friends at Coudal Partners and Flak Photo -- comes in. In it, we asked people to use a film camera to explore Shore's concept of "conscious intentionality." Broadly speaking, we challenged photographers to do two things: articulate a concept, project, or theme and then use a film camera to photograph the images to accompany it. There are, then, two parts: creating the idea and then acting on it. Sound interesting? Well, here are the rules:
Stage One ~ The Idea: Submitters were asked to write a short (up to 100 words) blurb about an idea, concept, theme, or project that, using a film camera, they could shoot 36 photographs of. We also asked to indicate a preferred 35mm film from the following list:
~ Kodak Portra 160VC
~ Kodak Portra 400VC
~ Kodak Portra 800
~ Kodak BW400CN
We asked that entrants keep the blurb short and simple, and since this was not be graded as an essay, that they not fret over grammar, punctuation, or style. We were looking for intriguing ideas that fall into the same general subject matter criteria as any submissions to FILE magazine, not the next Susan Sontag. If you are unfamiliar with our criteria, refer to the Submissions page for details. (You will also want to read the details of Stage Two, which follow, as they crafted their ideas.)
Submissions were accepted from December 6, 2007 through January 6, 2008. We chose five people -- Byron Barrett, Jeremias Paul, Glenn Twiggs, Jay Westcott, and Andy Cutraro -- who have moved to
Stage Two ~ The Images: The selected photographers were mailed a 36-exposure roll of film (and some of the swag shown above) that they must use to complete the idea, concept, theme, or project they described in their blurb. They will have roughly two weeks to complete this task (no later than February 29), and when they are finished, they will mail the roll of film to FILE Labs, where our Lab Chimps will process and scan the photos. The negatives will be returned to the photographers at the end of the contest. Ownership of all images is retained by the artists, as described in our Disclaimers and Weasel Words. The entire roll of images will be presented in a slideshow in the order they were shot, and selections from each of the final galleries will also be featured on Flak Photo. Our esteemed Editorial Board will judge the final work, and fabulous prizes will be awarded.
First Prize: A Jewelboxing Studio
One Jewelboxing Studio. This is a Professional-Grade DVD and CD Packaging system, and The Jewelboxing Studio contains all the very best stuff in one big kit.
Third Prize: Soundslides Plus
Soundslides Plus is a rapid production tool for still image and audio web presentations.
Second Prize: Lensbaby 3G
The Lensbabies 3G is the hybrid love child of an old-fashioned bellows camera and an up-tight tilt-shift lens, featuring a low dispersion, multi-coated optical glass doublet, and a tack-sharp sweet spot.