Photography Project Theme Ideas?
October 25, 2006 5:09 PM   Subscribe

Interesting ideas for a photography project?

In my photography class, we have to turn in 10 photos that have some sort of theme... (e.g. '10 photos of fluffy the cat', or '10 photos of old cars', etc.)

Any interesting theme suggestions? Preferrably that I can complete on my own with a limited budget and no access to models or anything too fancy?

Thanks in advance. :D
posted by blahtsk to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (17 answers total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
I had a similar project in college. Two themes I chose were: from an object's point of view (i.e. a gift looking out its box, a television looking at the people watching it, etc.) and peoples' hands in meditation/prayer from different religions. I opted for themes with photos that might mean something by individually, but had an ah-ha quality to it when viewed together. It was fun to shoot them.
posted by pedantic at 5:29 PM on October 25, 2006

You could make an instructional series like this [self link].

You could go to a park or something and take pictures of a wide variety of people doing the same thing (trying to juggle, eating a sandwich, dancing a little dance, etc).

Decay is always a popular (to the point of cliche) theme; crumbling buildings, peeling paint, whatever.
posted by aubilenon at 5:33 PM on October 25, 2006

See if you can get access to a really nice custom chopper (I bet you could walk into a shop and just ask the owner if you could shoot one of his bikes), find one with lots of chrome for reflecting light. Do your piece as 10 macro shots of different parts of it. Ideally, so macro that identifying them anything other than part of a machine is difficult.

Make sure your lighting is interesting and I'll bet you get a great set of photos.

Failing that, try and find something that you can find ten different versions of, and work from that. Fire hydrants might be neat.
posted by quin at 5:34 PM on October 25, 2006

What about a series on local business owners? This may be more or less challenging than you like, depending on where you are. Get them to pose in their stores with their wares - behind the deli counter, holding flowers, whatever they sell. If you somehow include the name of their business in the work (as the title of the photograph or maybe get their sign in the shot) they might even reward you for the free publicity.

After doing this, you've made some contacts in the community that may be willing to help you out in the future with other needs.
posted by backseatpilot at 5:37 PM on October 25, 2006

"Poverty and Wealth" have 5pics of each.
posted by selton at 5:42 PM on October 25, 2006

Distinctive architectural things in your neighborhood (including small stuff like doorknockers; old stuff like decay; new construction; handpainted signs...)

Portraits of people you know, with some twist:
- all from the back
- just the lips and chin, from the side
- each person holding a pose they feel awkward holding
- each person with some object they use often during the day

The same angle (eg. 45 degrees), as found in different objects (especially objects of different scale, and natural vs artificial objects, and soft vs. hard objects).
posted by LobsterMitten at 5:45 PM on October 25, 2006

Another idea based on my second concept. Hit antique stores and see if you can find varieties of old objects like skeleton keys or soda bottles. This will give you a bit of the decay that aubilenon mentioned. And again, this sounds like something that would look really cool in macro.
posted by quin at 5:51 PM on October 25, 2006

I love macro shots! I've done a series in macro of my hedgehog, fruits (small exotic ones: figs, litchis, kumquats) and various dollar bills, coins, and books/text. Some other things I've thought of but have not yet tried are: snack foods/candies, fabric, the inner-workings of an old computer, cigarettes, spices, and spiders. I think pets work well for macro shots because they have so many different aspects - noses, feet, fur, spots, stripes, teeth, eyes, ears - but they're so different than us humans. The trick sometimes is getting them to hold still.
posted by youngergirl44 at 6:06 PM on October 25, 2006

Choose something stationary yet structurally interesting (e.g., building, tree). Use ten different angles, or shoot under ten different types of light/weather.

Being able come up with ten arresting images would be a good test of your eye.
posted by rob511 at 6:11 PM on October 25, 2006

Dichotomy: black/white, male/female, young/old, walk/don't walk, etc.
posted by SPrintF at 6:53 PM on October 25, 2006

I don't know why, but I've always been enchanted by doors. On various travels I have taken pictures of interesting doors and have them framed in my place and they always get comments...

I just moved into a quaint little neighborhood and keep thinking that if someone did a study of it in photos it would be so interesting. Maybe explore your neighborhood through your camera--see some different angles of where you live.
posted by popsicletoes at 7:08 PM on October 25, 2006

I teach photography (college). One project I really liked (and gave a good grade on) was a series of landscapes shot in the reflections of cars. He shot mostly late in the afternoon, shooting sometimes into the windows but mostly into the fenders of very shiny, dark cars. The resulting landscapes were distorted. He focussed a lot on palm trees (Los Angeles). He managed to keep his own reflection out of almost all the images by shooting from low down.
posted by johngumbo at 7:17 PM on October 25, 2006 [1 favorite]

Self portraits maybe?
posted by blaneyphoto at 8:24 PM on October 25, 2006

Your examples were all concrete things. Try something abstract like power, fear, satisfaction, etc.
posted by JJ86 at 5:56 AM on October 26, 2006

My favorite project in college was "String, doll, two sticks, glass." It had wide open interpretation, but once you knew the focus of the series, you could pick out all the items. Sometimes, the title really does make the series.

Slightly simpler: "back doors", "house numbers with residents" and "feet" were all a lot of fun and kept me entertained.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 8:28 AM on October 26, 2006

To follow up on backseatpilot's suggestion, I've always thought a photo series on late-night workers -- convenience store cashiers, toll booth attendants, security guards, whatever, in their workplaces, alone, in the middle of the night -- could be interesting. Possibly a little sad. But maybe that's just me.
posted by CMichaelCook at 8:39 AM on October 26, 2006

Ooh, I like the late night workers suggestion! Now that it's getting dark early I've been looking for ways to get my camera out when I get home from work.
posted by backseatpilot at 4:11 PM on October 26, 2006

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