WINNER ANNOUNCED: 34th Serious Compacts Salon Challenge - the Unintended

Discussion in 'Photo Challenges' started by MiguelATF, Mar 25, 2017.

  1. I have been a fan of Diane Arbus's work - both her photographs and her writings, her thoughts about photography and life - for decades. Among her profound observations about the nature of what photography is, is this passage: "The thing that's important to know is that you never know. You're always sort of feeling your don't put into a photograph what's going to come out. Or, vice versa, what comes out is not what you put in. I never have taken a picture I've intended. They're always better or worse."
    I think as photographers, we've all had variations of this experience. You think you are going to photograph one thing, or photograph a subject in a certain way, but it comes out completely differently than you imagined or pictured...or intended. So, the subject of this Challenge is exactly that: a photograph that in some way comes out completely differently than what you originally intended. I realize this is a complex challenge, but it also feels like one which gets at the unique nature of what we do, or try to do, as photographers. Any and all interpretations will be accepted and encouraged.

    The Challenge will run from today, March 25, 2017, for approxiately 3 weeks and end at midnight on Sunday, April 17. I live on the West Coast time zone of the United States, so I will be flexible on the timing of final submissions but anything up to midnight of that Sunday will be accepted.

    All the usual Challenge RULES will apply, including:

    1. Either take pictures that match the nominated theme or select some from your portfolio. You must be the photographer that created the images in order to enter it.

    2. Only one entry per salon, please. If you want to withdraw an entry and replace it with another, that is OK, but you must make it clear in the post containing your replacement pictures that this is what you've done. You can add or change the title and add to the edit line to let everyone know.

    3. The decision of the curator at the end of the challenge is final - don't give him/her a hard time about it: this is just a friendly photo-challenge, after all!

    4. The winner will assume the responsibility of curator for the next Salon Challenge, and as soon as possible post a message in a new thread in the SC Photo Challenges forum, with details of the new theme. Don't forget - that opening message must include a copy of these instructions, which also double as the rules.

    5. The curator cannot enter his or her own salon.

    One final point. Because this Challenge is about what you "intended" vs the photograph that actually "happened", in this case, one or two words or sentences of explanation would probably be helpful, so both myself (the curator) and all those interested, can get a sense of what you had in mind before taking the picture, and how it subsequently changed. Good luck and have fun!
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  2. drd1135

    drd1135 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Lexington, Virginia
    It could be a challenge to take a new one :biggrin:
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  3. Good point, Steve. Given the nature of this challenge - an "unintended" result from a photo that you take or have taken - OR are still going to take - it might indeed by a challenge to take a new one (with a certain intention in mind - and then have it come out quite differently than you 'intended') ---- but, it is theoretically possible! And in a way, that may make this 'Challenge' more challenging, should someone wish to embark on a new photo/intention...and see what happens ; - )

    And, yes: obviously in some ways, at least, it might be easier to make an entry of a previous (already taken) photogaph ... rather than a 'new one'. You're totally right about that.
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  4. drd1135

    drd1135 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Lexington, Virginia
    I've posted this here before, but it fits the theme so well. I was taking a shot of my X-T10 to post an ad, and the Pen F focused on itself in the LCD.
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  5. donlaw

    donlaw All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Sep 14, 2012
    I am known to take a lot of photos in cars. Always have. While driving and sometime while waiting in heavy traffic.
    Here I was blindly pointing my Coolpix A up to catch some cloud formation while paused for traffic.
    What happened was a sort of ghostish selfie... Sort of fits the theme.
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  6. bartjeej

    bartjeej Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    33706413785_03c7ab1ea5_k.jpg Happy accident by bartjeej, on Flickr

    Wanted to take a picture of the sunrise from the train, but my phone camera focused on the window dirt instead. I took several properly focused shots of the sunrise afterwards, but I didn't like any of them as much as this one.
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  7. Very cool entries so far. And each one has such a great story... ; - )
  8. Michael T

    Michael T Top Veteran

    Jul 31, 2011
    The High Plains
    I didn't see the orange color of the back light through the viewfinder, so I was pleasantly surprised with the orange and black Halloween drama in the shot. To be honest I didn't expect or intend much at all, we just took the dog for a walk before the rain got too heavy and I grabbed the camera as an afterthought, I was able to grab a couple handheld shots in very low light, (ISO 12800) and was surprised by the results.
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2017
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  9. Just a quick reminder to all the photographers out there who have not yet posted an entry in this Challenge: now is the time to find that photograph which, when you first saw it, surprised the *&^% out of you - because, literally, it came out so differently than what or how you thought that it would or might. That is the essence of this challenge - finding an image that was not originally intended at the moment you took the photograph - but which, when you finally saw or found or discovered it - was in some way not only different ... but worthy and possibly even better (than what you originally had in mind).

    Which is a long-winded way of saying - a photograph that surprised the hell out of you ... when you finally saw it (as opposed to seeing it in your mind's eye, or thinking that you had 'seen' it in your viewfinder).

    I know everyone has at least one or two of these 'surprises' in their photographic drawer ;)
  10. Sadly, most of my surprises are duds and get deleted. There was one I had in mind and now can't find it so... nope.
  11. Petach

    Petach Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2011
    UK, Essex
    Peter Tachauer
    Originally, I was focussed on the guy on the left by the trash can. It looked; for all the world, as if he was about to pull a gun from his jacket pocket and commit a murder. I later posted the shot on line (can't recall where...might have been here or a sister site) and it was pointed out to me that there was another street shooter in the shot, sporting a camera across his chest and holding a remote control in his right hand.

    Is this a case of a street shooter shooting a street shooter who thought he was shooting someone about to shoot?, and ended up with a "friendly fire" incident or "blue on blue"

    8992503064_94223d8ff7_c.jpg shoot out by Pete Tachauer, on Flickr
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  12. Great story, Pete ;)
  13. Richard

    Richard Top Veteran

    Feb 1, 2013
    Marlow, UK
    I think the guy on the right could be doing it too - camera in the small of the back and remote control in his pocket. Crafty.

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  14. bartjeej

    bartjeej Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 12, 2010
    Eyes in the back of his head for composition? :p
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  15. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    Well, I was going for the contrails, but . . .

    HX400V Oakwood skies and flowers 001.JPG
    Cheers, Jock
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  16. A quick reminder: this is the final weekend for submissions to the current Photo Challenge - "the Unintended" (a photograph which in some important way came out differently than you intended at the moment you took it) - the window for entries will close laaaaate Sunday night at the end of this weekend - so for all you unintentional photographers, the clock is now ticking ....
  17. Matero

    Matero Top Veteran

    Jan 28, 2014
    Helsinki, Finland
    This picture is unintentional in many ways. I was shooting on a cold, overcast day in the park nearby. I'm not usually seeing birds very tempting targets for my technique and equipment I'm usually carrying. I prefer shooting hand held and most of the time with primes. However when I was shooting this time for fun with the only zoom I have, this duck came to look for food. After long northern hemisphere winter. I unintentionally seemed like a guy, who keeps the old bread with him and feeds the ducks, not.

    Nevertheless, few pics of the ducks ended up to keepers, although not technically perfect, not even focused well. But those water pearls on the duck pleased my eye.

    duck with water pearls
    by Matero, on Flickr
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  18. The Unintended Photo Challenge is now officially judging and decision making to follow in the not-too-distant future.
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  19. Decision time. And as always, making decisions in a Challenge is...well, it’s challenging. To say the least. Supposedly, for many of us, it is easier to judge the relative merits and virtues of someone else’s work, as opposed to our own. But that doesn’t always hold true and in this case, it has been very hard. The truth is that although I must nominally pick a ‘winner’ to a ‘challenge’, each of the photos in this Challenge has give me satisfaction and made me see, and think about, some things...differently. Which in a way is what the Challenge was all about to begin with: finding things in pictures...that were never (consciously) intended at the moment the photograph was taken.

    Let me go through the entries in the order in which they were submitted.

    First is drd1135. Steve’s mysterious photo - taking a shot of one camera with another but the shooting camera misfocusing and instead of shooting the original subject, ‘decides’ to focus on its own reflection - is a minor masterpiece of what might be called trompe l’oeil photography - a photograph which deceived the photographer himself - as well as us, the viewers - into thinking it is or was one thing...and then it turns out to be another

    I also love the sense of multiple exposures here, even though this is only one exposure - of contrasting dark and light planes of images and focus - the result is almost painterly.

    In donlaw’s photo, Don was trying to take a photo through the sunroof of his car but instead photographed the reflection of himself accidentally photographing himself - is another variation on the same theme. And a great one. As Don points out, the inadvertent selfie of himself or rather of his reflection has a grayed-out ghostly quality to it - the Ghost in the Machine - the machine in this case being the mysterious inner workings of our digital cameras which we think are our servants but actually may be more independently-minded than we realize.

    Then we have bartjeej’s entry. Another case of an independent-minded autofocus mechanism inside the camera - giving Bart and us a photograph more focused on the dirty glass of a train window - than on the sunrise he was (originally) trying to photograph through it (the window glass). Bart named this photo ‘Happy Accident’ - a name which aptly sums up the spirit of this Challenge.

    It’s a nice photo, too.

    Then we have Michael T - and a surprising low-light photograph of a cemetery on Halloween which has, as Michael points out, a totally unintended quality of light - the glowing orange-ish background that gives the frame a cool supernatural and very visible subtext. It’s the kind of lighting effect which might be achieved by placement of a number of cleverly arranged and hidden artificial lighting sources - but this photo isn’t artificial, it’s ‘real’ … which makes it all the cooler.

    Someone once said that photographs are really all about the light - and this inadvertent but dramatic lighting effect … proves that. It should get a special ‘Dramatic Light’ award, by the way.

    Which brings us to Petach. Pete’s killer photograph (pun intended), “Shoot out” - originally of a suspicious hooded figure in the left of frame, has yielded multiple unexpected surprises: among the many anonymous pedestrians populating this urban frame, at least two and possibly three others are ‘shooters’ as well, carrying cameras around their necks, slung behind their backs, or wherever. It’s one of those photos where the classic adage - the more you look, the more you see - applies in spades.

    It’s also beautifully framed and subtly but strongly developed, and the result is a photograph which stands strongly on its own (multiple feet), regardless of the parameters of this Challenge.

    Jock Elliott gives us another intriguing and mysterious photo, initially intended to be of jet contrails, but which turned out to contain extreme contrasts, deep, dark shadows, blinding light streams and the mysterious reddish alien spots, possibly from random reflections from almost direct sunlight hitting the lens’s internal elements. Which, no surprise here, was not what Jock originally intended, or imagined.

    I like the photo. And I like what seems to be one of the themes of this entry: that the pursuit of control, in the moment when we take a photograph, may be an illusion. Perhaps all of us, photographers, are in a state of denial - refusing to admit that our cameras occasionally...have a will of their own...and will express it.

    Last but not least is Matero’s monochrome shot of a hungry duck in a park - who turned out to be covered with myriad glistening tiny pearls of water which hadn’t registered, earlier, while shooting - but which became one of the key elements of the image later on - is a cool shot. It’s also testimony to Matero’s patience - and willingness to keep shooting - two qualities which I know I and many other photographers value - because, even when you think you know what you’re shooting...sometimes (often) you never really know what you’re going to get. So you have to be patient...and keep going. In the hopes that something (in this case the unexpected water pearls) will emerge at the end of the road.

    As I said originally, it’s hard and basically impossible to come to any rational decision for my final judgement. So let me just say that, for me, it came down to two photos. One - from drd1135 - gets my Honorable Mention - because Steve’s inadvertent photograph of the wrong (or wrongly focused) camera - has so many qualities to it that I had to come back, again and again, and keep looking … to appreciate it. I know it was unintentional, Steve - but, damn, it’s a cool image.

    Which brings me to my selection for the winner of this Challenge - and also the criteria on which I based my choice - which was, simply, the number of times I coming back to it - and the number of different things I kept seeing, or discovering, inside its frame -

    It’s Petach’s photo. Peter has given us an image which reminds me, on some levels, of the central image from Antonioni’s cinema masterpiece, “Blow-Up” - a movie about a photographer who discovers that a randomly taken photo, in a city park, may contain more mysteries than he thought possible. Pete’s photo keeps doing that - and it’s also a great embodiment of the idea that at the moment you take a photograph, sometimes, you may not know or even imagine, some or all of the gifts which the photographic deities, if they exist, are blessing you with.

    I offer Pete my congratulations - as well as my thanks and appreciation to the quality and diversity of every one of the entries in this Challenge.
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  20. Petach

    Petach Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2011
    UK, Essex
    Peter Tachauer
    Gosh, thanks Miguel both for the vote and for the narrative as to your reasons. I have to say it is one of my own favourites, and if ever I give a camera club talk on street photography it is one I wheel out for discussion. A difficult choice I am sure. Well done to the others who posted such an eclectic mix of subject matter.

    Give me a day or 2 to think of something.
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