Around the Block in 50 Photos

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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.

About cara

I blog for fun here at casaCARA, and write about architecture, interiors, gardens and travel for many national magazines and websites. My recently published posts and articles can be found here: https://casacara.wordpress.com/recent-articles/
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10 Responses to Around the Block in 50 Photos

  1. Terry says:

    I like the door nob reflection. I’m always looking for the photographer but the photographer is always trying to disappear.

  2. I loved the slide show. The light you captured is glorious and so autumnal. Your composition is just terrific. I especially enjoyed the photo of the discarded TV with your crouching down reflection in the screen… Thanks for posting these!

  3. cara says:

    Ha, I hadn’t even realized I was visible in the TV screen, and I’m definitely not in the doorknob. But you can see me pretty clearly in the picture of the shiny metal door grill — the one that’s kind of Deco-looking. Unintentional!

  4. What an interesting assignment. I think I will do the same thing, on my own. It makes you look, really look at the things in front of you, wherever you are. Thanks for the information and the pictures.

  5. cara says:

    Exactly, Cynthia. And often, as our teacher pointed out, the picture is behind you, so don’t forget to turn around!

  6. Great work Cara. I’d say you followed through and fulfilled on the meaning of the assignment. Although, I’m counting only 49 photos. In particular, photographs 14, 17, 29, 42, 44, 46, and 48 show a lot of promise. And though you’re more comfortable photographing inanimate objects I’d highly recommend going where you’re not comfortable. Clearly, there is a breakthrough to be had that will help nurture your photography.

  7. cara says:

    Thanks for the encouragement, George. Means a lot, coming from such a good photographer. I’ll have to look again at the ones you singled out!

  8. Cara,
    What a great assignment. Were you given a time frame? You have some really interesting photos. I love the details and composition.
    Bob

  9. cara says:

    Thanks, Bob. Yes, it’s fun – try it sometime! No time frame. I think it took about an hour to go around the block and take those shots. I didn’t fuss too much with settings — perhaps I should have on some of them.

  10. Julia Mack says:

    Love the 20 shots around your block–the stoop stairs with the wrought iron shadows is my fav–I’m inspired to do a version myself!

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