Photography Mystery Box Challenge

A few times a year I get together with some of my photography friends. We usually go somewhere that has great image making opportunities and then enjoy lunch afterwards.

This time I decided it would be fun to try something different. I sent out an email asking them to join me for a Photography Mystery Box Challenge. I created the idea based on a concept on Master Chef where the home cooks must make restaurant worthy meals from surprise ingredients found in their mystery box each week.

In the box: pears, stones, seashells, candle, antique tobacco tin, sheer white fabric, terracotta plant pot

In the box: pears, stones, seashells, candle, antique tobacco tin, sheer white fabric, terracotta plant pot, tall clear jar with spring-loaded lid

I asked everyone to bring a box with a maximum/minimum of 10 items that could be suitable for a photography close-up or still life. We met at park by a nearby river so that we could have water in the background. When everyone arrived, I put a number on each box and then we drew numbers to see which collection we would work with first. The guidelines I created included that we could set up our camera gear and tripod first, and then, when I said, “go” we had 15 minutes to get things out of the box and start creating tableaux. We could use one of the items or up to all of them and make images in that short time-frame.

In the box: leafy lettuce, basil, bottle of wine, large basket, balsamic vinegar, patterned serving bowl, tomatoes, garlic, shallots, box of spaghetti, wooden spoon

In the box: leafy lettuce, basil, bottle of wine, large basket, balsamic vinegar, patterned serving bowl, tomatoes, garlic, shallots, box of spaghetti, wooden spoon

After time was called, we had to put everything back in the box and move on to the next one. It required quick thinking, careful selection of objects and their placements, as we worked to make our images. The light kept changing from shade, to dappled sunlight with clouds overhead, to bright, so we had to reflect on which camera settings would give us the desired look. We were pleased at what we accomplished in just 15 minutes.

teapot, carnations, tea cup and saucer, cookies, antique kitchen implements, orange and white tea towels

In the box: teapot, carnations, tea-cup and saucer, cookies, assorted antique kitchen implements, orange and white tea towels

While enjoying our bagged lunches, we talked about how interesting and challenging the Photography Mystery Boxes were. We looked at a few of each others’ images on our camera LCD screens and were surprised at the amazing variety of images we created.

pears, white napkin, yellow napkin, bamboo cutting board, blue plate, antique knife, oval plate, orange checkered table cloth, straw basket

In the box:pears, white napkin, yellow napkin, bamboo cutting board, blue plate, antique knife, oval plate, orange checkered table-cloth, straw basket

I’ve written a list of some the items that were in the box below each image so that you have an idea of what I selected to make my photographs. Each of my images have been edited with software and I have added a slight glow and watercolour effect. You can see some of the colours of the river in the background.

antique kitchen implements, egg beater, sieve, garlic press, cherry pitter, teapot with flowers, cup and saucer, rectangular plate of cookies

In the box: vintage kitchen tools including egg beater, sieve, garlic press, cherry pitter, teapot with flowers, cup and saucer, rectangular plate of cookies

This would be a great idea for you and your friends to try and any kind of camera will do. Being with friends who love photography, laughter, and fun were the best parts our Mystery Box Challenge and we all agreed to try it again.

To see more of my images, please visit my website http://marionmccristall.com

© Copyright Marion McCristall, all rights reserved

One thought on “Photography Mystery Box Challenge

  1. Hi Marion: Oh your photos are wonderful, wish I had of thought of some of these ideas they are great. It was such a great idea, can’t wait for another idea to pop into your over creative mind. Cheers! Irene

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s