Photo month 2018: looking for YOUR photos

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The merry month of May is Photo Month (who knew that was a thing!). I’d love to use this month to ask you to start sharing your photos with me. Sometimes I get a bit bored of hearing myself talk about my photography all the time, so I want all you lovely people to get involved and get the conversation going about photography and Egyptology.

Whether you’re a professional Egyptologist, an enthusiast with a mobile phone, or a photographer who’s looking for a quick, fun project, all are welcome. I want to get you thinking about your photography, what you’re photographing, how you’re doing it, and how you can inject a bit fun and creativity into your photography.

I’m going to have four different categories for the month:

  • Week(ish) one: From the archives
  • Week two: Artefacts
  • Week three: Architecture
  • Week four: Street photography

Then, at the end of the month, I’ll put together a gallery with some of my favourite photos from each week (with permission, of course).

 

From the archives

Three-quarter view of a wooden coffin lid - just the head and shoulders. It's lit from the other side so there's lots of shadows.
Coffin lid from the collection at the Garstang

 

The first week, 1–8 May, will be all about digging through your archive of photos and finding a picture you’re particularly proud of. No restrictions on subject matter (except for common decency and, of course, the Egyptian theme. Don’t forget that Facebook has been known to remove photos of naked prehistoric figurines!)

I’m quite proud of the photo above I took of a wooden coffin lid at the Garstang. I’m proud because I love the lighting I managed to achieve, and how I got her looking so enigmatic. I also love how you can really see the texture in the wood.

Share your photos on social media, tag me in it, and let me know where you took the photo; what camera you used (mobile, compact, mirrorless, DSLR, digital or film is all good!); when you took it; and why you’re proud of it.

Facebook: @RetrogradePhotography | Twitter: @RetrogradePhoto | Instagram: @retrogradephotography | LinkedIn: @julia-thorne-80227a1b

 

Conversely, if you have a photo you were disappointed with because you couldn’t get it to work the way you wanted, I’d like to hear about that as well. If you don’t want to post on social media, you’re welcome to email me at julia@retrograde.photography and we can have a chat about what went wrong.

 

Artefacts

A closeup of the sailors in their boat. They're carved and painted with short wigs and bare chests.
Model sailors from a First Intermediate Period tomb, now at the World Museum

 

Like it sounds, between 9-15 May, I want your photographs of artefacts. Find an object in public museum galleries (make sure you check the museum’s photography policy first), museum stores for those of you working in a museum, or out in Egypt is great. Either go out and take a photo or find one from your archives. If you don’t have any photos and don’t live near a museum with Egyptian objects, then get creative with that replica Bast statue you have on the mantlepiece (yes, I have one in my living room …), or the kids’ Egyptian LEGO set. Or just go and find something else really old to photograph.

If you struggle getting photos in museum galleries, don’t forget to have a read of my photography tips and tricks before you go.

My only rules are that it’s an object in its own right, and not part of the structure of a building (that’s next week) and that you have some fun.

Share your photos on social media, tag me in it, and let me know where you took the photo; what camera you used (mobile, compact, mirrorless, DSLR, digital or film is all good!); when you took it; and why you’re proud of it.

Facebook: @RetrogradePhotography | Twitter: @RetrogradePhoto | Instagram: @retrogradephotography | LinkedIn: @julia-thorne-80227a1b

 

Architecture

A section of the ruined temple with columns and a wall
The temple at Kom Ombo in Egypt

 

This is a little bit different. From 16–22 May, I want to see photos of Egyptian architecture. Now, that can be the real thing from a trip to Egypt – tombs, temples, etc – or it could be a local building that has Egyptian influence in its architecture (hint: the 1920s were packed with Egyptomania, so you often find Egyptian-esque influence in Art Deco architecture). If, again, you can’t get to any Egyptian-style architecture, go to your local museum and get some photos of the Egyptian gallery. You could even shoot something neo-classical (Egyptian architecture isn’t always easy to find, but neo-classical – the 19th century buildings influenced by the Greek and Roman architecture – is).

My rule for this one is that the photo should be about the building (inside or outside), and not so much the artefacts inside it. And, again, have fun.

Share your photos on social media, tag me in it, and let me know where you took the photo; what camera you used (mobile, compact, mirrorless, DSLR, digital or film is all good!); when you took it; and why you’re proud of it.

Facebook: @RetrogradePhotography | Twitter: @RetrogradePhoto | Instagram: @retrogradephotography | LinkedIn: @julia-thorne-80227a1b

 

Street photography

A group of people at the doorway to the Egyptian gallery.
At the Manchester Museum galleries

 

OK, so something entirely different here. But with an Egyptian twist. (And something I’ll be writing a full blog post on soon.) I’m sure you’re all familiar with the idea of street photography: taking documentary-style photos out in public areas with the emphasis on the people around you. So, between 17–23 May, I want to see your Egypt-themed street photography.

One of the things I have a lot of fun doing when visiting museums is to photograph the people visiting, interacting with the displays. So, again, find something in your archive, or have a go in your local museum. Something from the streets of Egypt, particularly from an ancient site or museum, would be great if you have it, but don’t worry if not. Any museum can be great for street photography.

I have a couple of non-negotiable rules for this week:

  • No identifiable photos of young children, unless they’re your own. If they can’t be identified, such as them being out-of-focus, then that’s OK. I just ask that they’re not identifiable
  • Nothing undignified. Street photography isn’t about laughing at people who you think look funny or undignified. It’s about capturing the moment

Look for an interesting moment; don’t just take photos of people for the sake of getting people in your photo.

Tip: if you feel awkward at the thought of photographing people, you can avoid photographing faces. Capture feet walking along an ancient temple walkway, photograph people from behind or even take a friend or two with you and photograph them (no posing for the camera, though!). Museums are great places for street photography because lots of people are taking photos, and you won’t stand out as a photographer. So just hold your camera up and have a brave moment.

In the photo above, taken at the Manchester Museum, I’ve focused on the Suspended Truth shabti hanging above the gallery, with all the people at the doorway out-of-focus. I chose this photo because I like the the man in the centre of the doorway; how his legs are partway through taking a step and he has his phone up to his ear.

Share it on social media, tag me in it, and let me know where you took the photo; what camera you used (mobile, compact, mirrorless, DSLR, digital or film is all good!); when you took it; and why you’re proud of it.

Facebook: @RetrogradePhotography | Twitter: @RetrogradePhoto | Instagram: @retrogradephotography | LinkedIn: @julia-thorne-80227a1b


Remember:

  • don’t be daunted; I want this month to be fun and simple
  • if you forgot where or when you took a photo, or what, exactly, it was you photographed, don’t worry; I won’t come banging on your door, baseball bat in hand
  • everyone has a creative streak in them; sometimes you just need to tease it out a little
  • if you’re not sure about any of the themes, or want to pick my brain first, please DM me on social media or drop me an email at julia@retrograde.photography. I’m ready and waiting to hear from you!

I must take a moment to point out, that although laws vary between countries, generally speaking, the copyright for a photo remains with its creator. Do not take any of the photos here or posted by other people without asking permission first. Also, any stupid, trolling comments about people’s photos will be removed/banned without notice. I want this to be fun and friendly and I will not tolerate hurtful, pointless comments meant to demean a person.

So now, go out and have some fun, and share your photos – as many as you like! – with me.

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