SO OUT I WENT yesterday morning, camera in hand, to do my homework: the “20 paces” assignment from Stephen Sherman, who teaches a digital photography class at the 92Y in Tribeca. Though I felt a bit silly, stopping to take a picture every 20 steps and drawing curious stares, I rather enjoyed the process.
Call it a portrait of one square block in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, on a Friday in October. I started at my front door (the dangling keys) and soon lost count of how many photos I’d taken — the stipulated number was 36 — so I decided to just proceed around the block. When I got back to home base and counted them, I had about 50.
These are un-edited, by the way. The idea of the exercise was continuity, not to pick and choose.
Though it’s a picturesque neighborhood generally, there were spots where I couldn’t see anything of interest and was forced to focus, say, on cracks in the sidewalk. Here and there I tried to include people, but I think it’s pretty evident from the results that I’m more comfortable photographing inanimate objects.
The assignment was an eye-opener, just as the instructor intended. Later that day, I found myself noticing a tangle of overhead wires strung between two buildings, against a blue sky, and feeling the urge to take a picture.