I like challenges (not so much when it’s too much at stake, though, but I do), so the idea of participating in a photomarathon was really appealing to me. Not because of twelve hours of photographing (I’ve had longer marathons on assignments), but because I didn’t know the themes beforehand. It was an excercise in storytelling and especially in expressing the given topic in a specific interpretation in just one photo. In times when I feel more of a worker than a thinker it was a nice test to see if “I still got it”. Will I recognize the story when I see it in daily life on the streets? Will I see the given interpretations of a theme to document a part of it that will tell the story in a unique way?
Anyway, the Photomarathon 2016 took place on Saturday, October 22, in seven cities around the Meditteranean. Beirut, Lebanon. Algiers, Algeria. Naples, Italy. Palermo, Italy. Marseille, France. Amman, Jordan. Ljubljana, Slovenia. The head organizer was the organisation Frame from Beirut. Their local partner/co-organizer in Ljubljana was Apis Institute. We began our twelve-hour mission to document the city at ten in the morning and finished at ten in the evening.
Each photographer in all seven cities received four themes at 10 in the morning, had four hours to shoot and upload one photo for each theme on their profiles on Frame’s website (www.frame.life), then at 14:00 we received the next four themes and needed to upload the next four photos by 18:00 when we received the last four themes. We had to shoot jpg, no raw, no post-production, only the photo as it came out of the camera. What’s more is that the jury will judge the aesthetics of the photo and the content, but they will consider all the photos as a whole, as a body of work. And for me – specializing in stories, and applying the highest standard which includes consistency – that was a unique challenge to make it consistent in style and look, the colors etc. It was even more of a lottery given the fact that we didn’t know which themes would come next.
I never participated in something like that, although I did have opportunities before. To be honest, given that I demand a very high standard for my photos, I never really thought being so limited would produce anything really good. I’m still not sure, but the experience was great. I loved the brainstorming, the depths into which I had to delve to find available imagery that expresses a given theme. Great excercise!