Week 1 Challenge: Time to Play
This week’s activity is from Michael Christopher Brown, an American photographer represented by Magnum Photos. He has gained an international reputation, especially for his documentation of the 2011 Libyan Civil War, which was published in a monograph titled Libyan Sugar, by Twin Palms Publishers in 2016.
“For much of my career, photography was more of a way to make money than a compulsion. I spent a lot of time communicating ideas that were not my own. Two years ago, during the Libyan Revolution, I began taking a more honest path with regards to photography. It had to do with finding a voice. An interesting exercise that anyone can do is to take one photograph per day for a week. The idea is to be focused enough to only photograph what is absolutely necessary. What are the seven pictures that not only define the week, but yourself? What if you were to die next week and these were to be the last seven pictures of your life? This exercise can be an important analysis of the self in relation to life and photography.”
Post your seven pictures in the forum space below and discuss what you have discovered.
Week 1 in photographs, captured on an iPhone X…
Sunday: Choir practice prior to evensong at the Chapel of St. Nicholas. In 20 years of singing in the chapel, I have never seen the east windows looking so impressively lit. 17:46, four minutes before the start of the practice and the sun was low in the sky to the west, with beautiful clear blue sky lining up perfectly with the top section of the window and sunlight reflecting off the autumnal hues of the trees some 120m in the background, providing warmth to the four figures. I must hope for repeat conditions when I have the opportunity to photograph the window properly!
Monday: After 12 hours of uninterrupted meetings and contact time with children, the evening presented the chance for some project work.
Tuesday: A full day of duties. 16:45 was my first break in the day, with duties continuing until 20:25. As the final few boys head out for football practice, I had the chance to sit on the steps and appreciate a beautiful day in Oxford.
Wednesday: My half day… I am free from 11:30, so headed out to the other side of Oxford to collect a selection of double-mounted prints that I am gradually putting together in readiness for a exhibition. With the prospect of 40+ images to have mounted and framed, I am having to do this a few at a time to spread the cost. I am yet to commit to the framing!
Thursday: Short Leave… the first break of the Michaelmas term and the chance to add to my portfolio. Mansfield College is a stunning location, lit rather too well today, but that aided in my selection of stained glass windows to photograph. The weather was just brilliant, and it is the perfect time to visit Oxford: most tourists and school visits have ceased, and the students do not return until Monday. The back streets were quiet and I was quickly reminded why I love living here – I had a smile on my face all afternoon.
Friday: More time spent in town and another perfect day… sadly not so perfect for photographing stained glass, where the idyllic conditions are overcast but bright. New College is an old haunt at which I have sung on many occasions. On checking in with the Porter’s Lodge, I was simply handed the huge and impressive bunch of ancient keys to the chapel (why didn’t I photograph them?!), and told to help myself. However, the cloisters were looking particularly fine (known to many who have enjoyed the Harry Potter films).
Saturday: Another beautiful day with the opportunity to edit some of the photographs taken in the past two days. Extraordinarily, for the final days of September, my garden still needs watering and this is the rather splendid sight on the wall at the end of the garden: a vine growing from cuttings taken from an ancient vine within the school.