PHOTO OF THE MONTH
The quote “Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop” is often attributed to Ansel Adams. However, I still haven´t found in which context did he said this (if he once did). The fact is that, as sharply pointed by the brilliant photographer Adrian Vila, this quote is perhaps often used “to motivate photographers who feel they aren’t making enough good images“.
Vila argues against this approach for two reasons: 1) what if you reach 12 great photos by the middle of the year? In this case, the photographer would feel lazy and unmotivated to keep pursuing new photos that particular year; 2) This approach puts strong emphasis in single great photos in opposition to less individual, but deeper and meaningful collections of photo narratives.
Although I strongly agree with Adrian Vila, I decided to challenge myself and pursue one single photography that I feel happy about each month. This is not a new idea and it is somehow related to the old Your Shot Photography community hosted by National Geographic until 2019. And there are three main reasons for my self challenge.
The first one is that I learned a lot when entering the Your Shot assignments. The one that I liked most was to send photos taken on the first day of each month, e.g. “In October 1st I…”. So, only photos taken on the first day were considered and photographer had one or two days to submit. No matter the theme, that motivated me to take photos on the first day of each month and also planning some specific places to go photographing. I had a couple of photos picked by the National Geographic Editors during the short time these assignments last and that always made me feel happy. This challenge is to make me feel always motivated to pursue and show a new photography to the world each month.
Secondly, while photographing for the assignment, I always returned to home with too much photos. And I had to chose only one to submit to the assignment. Choosing one photo is really challenging and made me think more critically when photographing. Thus, even though I have a nice narrative with many photos, picking only a meaningful one is part of the process of putting intention into the act of photographing. Nevertheless, keeping as much as different photos contribute to my different ongoing projects and feed my portfolio with fresh content.
Finally, a self commitment is always a risk. It is easy to skip one month, then two, then let it die. I saw a countless people challenging themselves in Instagram with projects like one photo per day, or per week, or during the whole pandemic… I think that the time span of a month is enough to think, plan and execute a photo that is not merely supposed to comply with an obligation, but rather, is important for personal and collective projects I am involved.
In summary, every month I will feature a new photo taken in the previous month, with the story behind her. In the next few days I will post the photograph of October. In December, one photo from November and so on. This way, I have time to edit, think, write the stories and pick the Photo of the Month.