November 17, 2015  •  Leave a Comment


In our pursuit of better photography skills, we spend a lot of perfectly good time searching out points, lines, and shapes, don't we? We do love us a good shape whether it's a triangle, circle, or hourglass, and we find countless ways to construct entire photographs with them. Sometimes someone gets lucky with the results and prints them in punchy black and white, hangs them in galleries, then invites everyone they know to come on opening night to stand around in black berets and tight pants, avante-garde retro jazz on the turntable, and discuss the cultural vortex of Shape, Fahrenheit, and Uber. At least that's what it sounds like over the conversational din. Regardless, after a glass or two of cheap house wine, repartee always get absurdly insightful, doesn't it? Eventually though, such high discourse inevitably comes back to earth, to those familiar lines and shapes we worked so hard to put to creative use in the first place.
Fortunately, we're entering the season of lightening up a bit, so we're going to have some fun with the most familiar lines and shapes we see every single day - the alphabet. Letters A through Z, and for extra credit, numbers too. Not just English alphanumerics, either; any language employed in communication is fair game. We're going to grab our cameras big and small, and search out objects that emulate, look like, or suggest letters and numbers. And if we get obsessed, we can explore nooks and crannies for punctuation marks, scientific symbols, musical notations, and wingdings. Alphabet Soup.  
The only thing we won't be shooting are actual letters and numbers themselves - so no mailboxes or house numbers will count towards our tally. We do have to make it a little bit challenging for ourselves, after all. 
We'll likely knock out some of the easy letters first. Like the letter O. O shapes show up everywhere, like ants at a Fourth of July picnic. Or I, always lurking along the edges of things. B could be a tough one, or not, if you catch one sleeping. Q is a trickster fox, hiding its tail until the last second when it flits away into the shadows. Watch out for that one.
Maybe you'll bag all 26 English letters and have 10 days left wondering what to do with the rest of your 64 GB memory card. Well, hey, don't forget those lower case versions - almost 26 more! Or make it hard for yourself by changing up fonts. A ladder is a chain of skinny non-serif H's; a La-Z-Boy is a single fat one. And don't forget those other languages; this might be a good time to learn Chinese.
Keep track of all your successes. Can you nail the whole alphabet by the assignment's sell date? 
In case you were wondering, there IS a purposeful motive for this assignment, besides the fun we'll have. Pattern recognition is a very useful skill for a photographer, and our 14 day hunting season will go a long way toward developing this too-rare talent. You can bet it will come in handy in a future assignment.  
Alphabet Soup will pass right through us, as well as through Thanksgiving, so allow me to express my thanks to all our members for the amazing creative photographs, stories, comments, advice, and never-ending good humor that percolate through Photo Assignment non-stop. This is my favorite stop each day and it's you that make it so. So celebrate yourselves whether it's Thanksgiving or not. 
Alphabet Soup will run for two weeks, Nov 18 - Dec 1. Happy shooting!






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