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matthew
12-28-2007, 10:25 AM
Starting in the new year, bi-weekly assignments will be coming to fourthirdsphoto. Posted every other weekend, they will be a fun, non-competitive way to explore different aspects of photography.

There are some very important differences between the assignments and contests. Assignments are not competitive: there's no winner, prize, or judging. They're also open-ended, leaving plenty of room for interpretation, experimentation, and older ones can be revisited whenever you like. Instead of creating a single excellent photo for submission, the goal of the assignments is to explore the subject, theme, or technique in different ways, and the photos that don't work are equally important. This is a new way for us all to learn and participate in the fourthirdsphoto community, and it will be as valuable as we all make it as individuals.

Given that assignments are for exploring different aspects of photography and developing new skills, you are always encouraged to take new photos. However, sometimes there's a perfect image already in our archives, so feel free to share them unless the assignment specifically asks for only fresh material. All I ask is that you add something new to your existing images: write a short message explaining how they fit to the assignment, what you did to make the photo work, or even how you've changed your approach since you took it.

Look for the first assignment to be posted in this forum in the next couple of days, and in the mean time, feel free to ask any questions here.

SkyWriter
12-30-2007, 05:41 PM
Interesting.

windsprite
12-30-2007, 07:24 PM
Sounds like a great idea!

Johannes
12-30-2007, 08:41 PM
Good Good !!!

matthew
12-31-2007, 11:51 AM
The first assignment has been posted (http://fourthirdsphoto.com/vbb/showthread.php?p=131436#post131436) -- it's more demanding than what I'll usually be introducing, but it should be fun.

Something that I forgot to mention is that I'll be starting each assignment with a quotation. These provide a direction, insight, or bit of humour, but don't take them too seriously: they aren't a "cast in stone" interpretation or message about what the assignment should be. For example, assignment #1 starts with a bit of story-telling advice, but that doesn't mean that all photo series posted to the assignment need to be a linear story with a beginning, middle, and end. Be creative and have fun.

JohnM
01-07-2008, 05:23 AM
Have been away from the Forum for a few weeks so am not fully up to date. Quite like the idea of "Assignments" but does this mean that the monthly competition is no more?
JohnM

matthew
01-07-2008, 08:58 AM
No, the competitions will continue. The Photographer of the Year contest is currently underway, and the regular qualifying contests will resume some time after it's completion. AnnF and Tony may have specific details and dates.

JohnM
01-07-2008, 10:06 AM
Thanks for that. Time permitting I will try to enter into both
Thanks again for all the time you have given to this idea
JohnM

tspore
01-07-2008, 10:55 PM
Yea we will begin the monthly contest again, but it will be a month or so. I figure after PMA.

shunra
01-18-2008, 10:48 PM
Would it be possible to state the deadlines when giving an assignment? Iwas working on #1 when #2 was posted... I know it's bi-weekly, but I wouldn't always know whether we're on the even or odd week...

Thanks!

matthew
01-19-2008, 04:31 AM
Shunra, there's no deadline -- feel free to add to an assignment whenever you like, and as often as you like. New assignments are posted every two weeks, but like the E-1, they last forever.

Jonas B
01-20-2008, 01:33 AM
I'm pretty new here and have just slowly started to look around the different sections of the board.

I got interested in the Assignments (and the contests) as it's always good for the brain to meet a challenge and it is also great to get inspired.

A question: Are the Assignments supposed to be interactive?

To me posting pictures is pretty worthless unless there is some kind of feedback given. I checked the pictures in the two assignments. There are very few comments. There are even a poster or two publishing their first public picture ever, and there is no feedback.

This is the same phenomena seen at DPR and some other sites I visit more or less regularely.

What is custom here at fourthirds? Are we supposed to leave comments or is it considered rude or something? What gives?

regards,

JohnM
01-20-2008, 05:39 AM
I'm with Jonas a bit here. Apart from prizes, which I think is a bit of a red herring, what's the difference in the assigment to the monthly contest. The monthly contest does draw comments albeit the most meaningful come after the contest has closed. I think i am getting old as it's all a bit confusing to me.
JohnM

shunra
01-20-2008, 03:13 PM
Shunra, there's no deadline -- feel free to add to an assignment whenever you like, and as often as you like. New assignments are posted every two weeks, but like the E-1, they last forever.

I see. I thought they were contests, like last year.

Thanks!

matthew
01-23-2008, 11:48 AM
Sorry for the delay in responding.


A question: Are the Assignments supposed to be interactive?...What is custom here at fourthirds? Are we supposed to leave comments or is it considered rude or something?

I'd love to see comments, response, feedback and discussions. Personally I've fallen down on this, as the number of submissions has been really overwhelming, but I also hate commenting on only a few and neglecting others. But in general, this is a community activity, and everyone is welcome to contribute however they wish. Assignments will be as valuable as we make them, both as a group and as individuals.

It's also true that people frequently learn more by commenting and critiquing than by taking the photograph. Having to articulate my thoughts about another's work makes me a better photographer.


Apart from prizes, which I think is a bit of a red herring, what's the difference in the assigment to the monthly contest.

I do understand the similarities: someone picks a theme and everyone submits photos that answer it. Both create a thread with similar photos with some (admittedly not as much as I would like) feedback and interaction with other photographers. But there are several technical differences, and one all-important subtle one.

First of all, as you mention, there's no prizes in an assignment. But for a challenge's prize to be awarded, there needs to be a winner, which means that there's judging, and a time period after which new entries aren't accepted. None of that is true for assignments.

A second difference is the type of themes or subjects. While the Challenges do occasionally look at technical themes, and the assignments so far have followed themes that challenges also used, the assignments can include requirements that won't show in the final photos. For example, I may ask people to shoot with the same lens for the entire two weeks, or restrict themselves to a focal length that they wouldn't normally use. But such technical details won't make up the majority of the assignments, so in general the themes and subjects may seem similar.

But the all-important subtle difference is that a challenge is a competitive activity while assignments are collaborative. For a challenge, you work alone to create the best image you can and submit one final masterpiece. You probably use your strengths and stick with tried and true techniques. The underlying idea is to do your best, and to make your best better than the others.

For an assignment the purpose is to try new things, take photos that you otherwise wouldn't, and learn from it. We work as a group to share ideas and approaches, and a work-in-progress is just as valuable -- maybe more valuable -- as a masterpiece. There's no limit to how many photos each photographer can submit, or when they can be added, so there's plenty of opportunity to experiment. This is the time to work on our weaknesses and expand our abilities. Think of an assignment as a photographic workshop, albeit a self-directed one.

Jonas B
01-24-2008, 02:40 AM
Sorry for the delay in responding.
I'd love to see comments, response, feedback and discussions. Personally I've fallen down on this, as the number of submissions has been really overwhelming, but I also hate commenting on only a few and neglecting others. But in general, this is a community activity, and everyone is welcome to contribute however they wish. Assignments will be as valuable as we make them, both as a group and as individuals.

It's also true that people frequently learn more by commenting and critiquing than by taking the photograph. Having to articulate my thoughts about another's work makes me a better photographer.



Hi,

No problem with the delay; it's not exactly an urgent topic. I agree with what you say, all parts of it. I had to post my question as I got surprised by the absence of comments and thus wasn't sure about how this forum works.

I just checked the B&W assignment. There are 30+ contributions (or number of photographers). One of them commented other people's work, in two posts (and that was you...).

There is no way one single person can be responsible for all the commenting. And while true one can learn by looking at pictures I think that is both boring and very much less learning compared to getting the picture(s) commented. If I want to see good or inspiring pictures I have photo books in my bookshelf (and so on).

In my opinion the strength of a community should be that it works as a community; in this case the lurkers (me included) and the contributors all should have at least something to say (where the "Great picture!" comment should be forbidden) about at least two other pictures (or posts).

I don't know how this can be done. I noticed the exact same at the Oly SLR forum at DPR and other places. Now that place is what it is and it starts as a techno babbel forum. We should be able to do better here?

regards, and thank you,

jkrumm
02-20-2009, 11:17 AM
Hi Jonas--fellow occasional DPR Wednesday C&C participant, right? I haven't tried these assignments myself, not sure why. You might want to try posting a picture in the regular photo forum here and asking for feedback, though my guess is that on average the folks are a little less inclined to offer criticism here, perhaps because it's a friendly atmosphere and it just feels too negative to suggest changes.

More than likely some changes in expectations for comments like there are in the Wednesday C&C thread would help, though over there that sometimes gets one the bare minimum.

Linny
10-07-2009, 01:23 PM
Neat idea, I think so anyway:D

Linny:cool: