The 2013 PhotoChallenge

Over the years, has sponsored quite a number of themed photography challenges. Participants simply commit to make their best creative effort to create a photo or series of photos adhering to the given theme. I think I made that sound more complicated than I should have. You can take a look at a few of them above, under Past Challenges.

This brings me back to now.

Now, for 2013 we’ve decided to not only return with a vengeance, but we’ve decided to relaunch!

OK, I’ll get to the point! (I know you were thinking it.) For 2013 we’re challenging you to commit to photographing at least one choice image a week, for all 52-ish weeks. Yes, you may end up photographing more than just one a week. However, we’re hoping that you’ll do some self-critiquing and submit to us all, just one.

Each week we’ll post a new blog post here, describing our selected theme. Sometimes it’ll be simple, like bicycle. Other times it’ll be surprisingly thought-provoking, like entropy. Read some of our past challenges, and there are plenty, to get an idea of what we’re talking about.

Over the course of this upcoming year you’ll not only see posts by Jeremy and myself, but you’ll be introduced to two new contributors as well! I’m excited to double the creative input. You’ll meet them in due time. I’ll allow them to introduce themselves.

In the past we had everyone tag their submissions with the appropriate metadata, like “2013PhotoChallenge”. Since nearly everyone was using Flickr alone, it was easy to search for that term and find all the submissions. With the increased popularity of Facebook and the arrival of Google+, we need to reevaluate. We have a PhotoChallenge Facebook group, a Google+ Community, and a Flickr group. So from now on, we’d like to see each participant’s submission be actually posted to at least one group or community. Of course, feel free to keep tagging your photos appropriately; “2013PhotoChallenge”.

The first week’s theme is ICON. This first “week” will actually run through January 12, 2013. Consider something iconic, or possibly even a religious icon. The word icon is defined as…




1. A painting of Christ or another holy figure, used as an aid to devotion in the Byzantine and other Eastern Churches.

2. A person or thing regarded as a representative symbol of something: “icon of manhood”.

Honestly, my focus is on the second definition above. Even though my example below is really the first definition. Worry not, I think you should follow your gut, and capture the best photograph of an icon. Feel free to be creative and think outside the box. Below you’ll find one of my photos from my Jesus Series.

Hey! Ho!

The theme for each week will be announced over the weekend, hopefully by Sunday. Give us some grace, if we are running late. 🙂 If you find that you’re getting behind, don’t have the time, or simply forget to shoot, don’t be worried. We are glad to have you join us again just as soon as you can. Remember, this is about having fun and challenging yourself to become a better photographer!

February Challenge, 2010: I Ate This

It’s time for the first Monthly Challenge of 2010! In addition to the 2010 Challenge, we will have monthly challenges every other month during the year. Everyone is welcome to participate in these challenges.

"White Raspberries And Fig" by libraryman
"White Raspberries And Fig" by libraryman

The theme for the February Challenge will be “I Ate This”. Each day, take a photo of something you ate, and post it to the pool on Flickr. When you add it to the pool, be sure to tag it “februarychallenge2010”.

"Yet Another Sushi Roll" by moofbong
"Yet Another Sushi Roll" by moofbong

If you have never tried food photography before, now is your chance. Or you could use this opportunity to explore some new types of cuisine. Get out there, show us what you ate, and above all have fun!

"dan dan mian, upclose", by chotda
"dan dan mian, upclose", by chotda

2010 Challenge

It’s almost a new year, and that means it’s time for a new yearly challenge!

In 2009, we were challenged to shoot one photo every day, on a theme that changed every day. This was quite a challenge. A lot of people participated during the year, some for the whole year, and some as they could during the year. We recognize that shooting and posting every day is not for everyone, so for 2010 we will be doing something that will be a little easier for everybody to keep up with.

"November 27: Cello Lesson", by sarahbest

Some of you may remember that in 2008, the yearly challenge was to shoot a photo per week documenting your community. A photo per week is quite a bit easier to manage than a photo per day.

So, for 2010, we will be combining the ideas from the 2008 and 2009 challenges. During 2010, the yearly challenge will be to shoot one photo per week, on a theme that will change every four weeks! This will give us a schedule that is much easier to keep up with, but will still provide a variable theme to keep things interesting. The first four weeks will begin on January 1, 2010, and extend through January 23, 2010. The theme for the four weeks following will be announced on the first day of the next four weeks, January 24. You can post your weekly shot any time during the week. When posting, please add your photo to the pool on flickr, and tag the photos with “2010challenge” and “2010challengeXX”, where XX is the week in a two digit format (01, 02, 03, etc). Of course, you are welcome to join in at any time, and if you miss posting during one week, just make it up the following week. This is about having fun and challenging yourself to become a better photographer, so the rules are guidelines. You won’t be punished or banned from the group if you miss a week or make up a shot.

"Boston Waterfront - Charles River "Evening Jog"", by David Paul Ohmer

Since the first week of 2010 is so short, you will only have a couple of days to get your first weeks shot of the theme. Are you ready? The theme for the first four weeks of the 2010 Challenge is RESOLUTION. What are you resolved to do in 2010? What do you see others around you resolved to do? For the first four weeks of 2010, let’s see one photo per week of a resolution!

You may be wondering what will happen with the monthly challenges. Don’t worry, they are not going away. We will take a break in January so that everybody can get into the swing of the 2010 challenge. The monthly themes will start in February, and every other month after that.

"Relax and travel...", by Ferran.

Also, we are happy to announce one more change for 2010. Steve Troletti will be joining the volunteer staff of! Steve has been an active participant in the challenges, and will be helping out as a moderator in the flickr pool. Some of you have probably noticed that there are some photos being added to the pool that are obviously not part of the challenges. Steve will help make sure that photos in the pool are photos that were submitted for the challenge, and that the photos were tagged correctly. Welcome aboard, Steve!

"The Halls of Stanford", by Akash k

One more thing. If you need a reminder as to what the theme is or when the theme will change, just look at the 2010 Challenge Themes page. Now get ready for a challenge!

Casting Call! Moderators needed

As the PhotoChallenge community continues to grow, even if it’s ever so slowly, we’re seeing an increased level of activity on the Flickr Group. Usually the discussions are question oriented, and someone rises up and hooks it up with the solution. However, this past year we’ve seen a massive increase in those participating on a regular basis. There’s enough folks submitting to the Group Pool that every so often, I realize I’ve never seen a photographer’s work before. That’s a cool realization, BTW.

Every so often though, I see a submission that makes me think, “How does this photo fit the challenge?” Sometimes I may be wrong. This dilemma is kinda scary. No one wants to say, “Hey, that doesn’t fit”, only to find out that the photographer is simply more artistic than you thought. Unfortunately, Jeremy and I can’t hover around on Flickr, waiting to pounce on someone spamming our Pool.

I’m getting to it…

We’re looking for a couple of folks, who have already demonstrated their allegiance to the community by actively participating in our challenges for at least the last half of this year, 2009. We would like to promote you into the vital role of “Moderator” on the Group. Do you have what it takes? Are you already viewing the majority of the submissions, even commenting on them too? Then that’s probably you!

If you’re interested do one of these things:

  1. Comment on this post.
  2. Use the Contact Us page.
  3. Shoot Jeremy or Trevor a message on Flickr.
  4. Shout loudly. (No, don’t do this one.)

Jeremy and I will take a look at how many are interested, and talk amongst ourselves for a bit. We’ll let you all know, and maybe even post something here as an announcement.