Should You Choose to Accept

On recently Hannah Thiem conducted an interview with me. I think it’s the best exposition about my work to date. (Suprada Urval’s excellent interview with me covered very different ground.)

As part of the interview, Hannah and I proposed an assignment: Photograph a flower in a unique way—in a way that nobody’s seen before. The top three submissions are to be chosen by me and the staff, and will get special recognition. I’m extending an invitation to participate in this “assignment” to you. The deadline is February 23, 2009.

If you are not already a member, you do need to register with, but registration is free. Once you’ve set up a account, you can add your assignment submission as follows: Your flower photo series must be uploaded to your gallery in a folder titled “Harold Davis Flower Project” and your best single photo added to the comments section in the Harold Davis interview. Note that when you post a comment, you are given an option to add a photo. The image added should be no wider than 700 pixels. The photo must also be in your gallery for consideration.

Further discussion about your assignment (should you choose to accept it) below.

Alternate Cherry Universe

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Here are some of my thoughts about the assignment:

Please bear in mind that one of the key requirements for this assignment is “originality”; that is, this is a flower as it has not been seen before. I’d like to see images that are technically imperfect but very experimental.

One can always perfect technique. Flowers are a good subject for experimentation because they are not as demanding as human models and because they are often presented as perfect (and so are less often experimented or played with).

This is an “assignment.” My request is that you go out and shoot for it rather than posting an image from your stock files.

In an interesting side discussion thread about the assignment, there are a number of good comments and the complaint that winter is not the best time to photograph flowers: “So, this assignment is really only for those that are in the Southern Hemisphere or have access to a green house or conservatory?”

Here’s my response in part: True, I live in California where there are flowers in my garden most of the year…BUT some of my best flower photos involve inexpensive flowers from Trader Joe’s, available all year round. Here’s a recent Trader Joe’s special. Also, winter frost creates great effects on flowers like this thistle.

Part of the point of a challenge like this assignment is that it should be a challenge, and should spur out-of-the-box thinking. Who said the flower needed to be living? Who even said the flower needed to be floral? Crystal flower shapes on a frosted window would work well for me.

So there are many ways to render unusual flower images even if you live in territory buried under whiteness, and without a florist. Think expansively, and don’t be too literal about things! Logic is the enemy of the creative unconscious. At the same time, as poet Randall Jarrell put it, “Art being bartender is never drunk.”

Cherry Branch on White

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This entry was posted in Flowers, Photography.

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  1. By Flower Assignment Extended | Photoblog 2.0 on February 18, 2009 at 9:25 am

    […] You can read about the background of this assignment in Should You Choose to Accept. […]

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