I’ve read that if you really want to stave off dementia, you should aim to learn something totally knew — like a language or an unfamiliar technology. Apparently, it actually causes your brain to grow. I’m here to say the theory is absolutely true at least based on just my second class in my Photography course. (See an earlier post about it here.) After yesterday’s class, and especially after the professor handed out our first portfolio assignment, my brain was throbbing. As if it had leaped off the couch, brushed away the Cheetoh crumbs and run a marathon. A day later, I’m still overwhelmed and trying to figure out how to even approach this assignment which is due February 14th.

I know this isn’t the student ethos, but I’ve been in the business world too long at this point. I’m used to needing skills, sourcing them and hiring them. So here’s an open invitation, to anyone who wants to participate, to join me in this assignment. Especially if you are part of my Flickr Group, Project365. These hardy folks have committed to taking and posting a picture a day to the photo sharing site Flickr. That’s a lot of shutterbugs. I’m sure with only partial participation, maybe I can get enough help to ace this course. Again, not the student ethos, but we do live in a world where, if you don’t know the answer, you are allowed to phone a friend (at least that’s the rule on “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.”) So why not?

Anyway, here goes. I’m supposed to take all pictures in Black and White on my camera’s manual mode so that I set the ISO, Aperature, and Shutter Speed. You can do what you want. I’m only looking to steal your ideas!

Project Get Blue State Cowgirl an A

Take photographs that:

Show an image of your neighborhood

Are from a bird’s eye view

Are from a snake’s eye view

Where your camera is moving

Of something blurred

Of something panned

Where only one thing is in focus

Where everything is in focus

That is vertical for a reason

Where three people form a triangle (you aren’t allowed to pose the subjects)

Of an uninterrupted circle

Of an interrupted circle

Of a photograph within a photograph

Of parts

Of yourself

Of abstract forms

Of water in motion

Of a friend

Of a stranger

That lies about your neighborhood

That will surprise everyone who sees it

That combines words and image

About cultural relationships

About truth

About your greatest fear

About myth and/or ritual

About sexuality

That you always wanted to make

That is irreverent

With conflicting messages

That tells a story

From a dream

Of yourself as an animal

Of your bad side

Of something that is sacred to you

That is horizontal for a reason

Of something you dislike

That reminds you of a movie

Of something insignificant

Hope you join me. I could really use the help!