Celebrate the Challenge’s New Title=Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge: Object (Light and Shadow)

24 March 2014


1. Study of Bench #1, iPhone 4s, March 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

1. Study of Bench #1, iPhone 4s, March 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

2. Study of Bench #1, iPhone 4s, March 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

2. Study of Bench #2, iPhone 4s, March 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

3. Study of Bench # 3, iPhone 4s, March 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

3. Study of Bench # 3, iPhone 4s, March 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

4. Study of Bench #4, iPhone 4s, March 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

4. Study of Bench #4, iPhone 4s, March 2014; © Sally W. Donatello and Lens and Pens by Sally, 2014

Let me know which you prefer and why.


With Spring slowly capturing the landscape, redefinition is prevalent. This tipping point between winter’s grey and spring’s hues is an apt point to introduce the challenge’s third title change: Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge. Mostly, it conveys a direction that photography is following through innovation to spirit one’s visual creativity.

For weeks this title was a work-in-progress. The final choice was made possible by a collaborative effort with YOU–the challenge’s community. I hope that it expresses the current flow of photography, which allows for a wide and deep consideration of stilling the moment.

Photography as an art form has evolved with such gusto that the present is but a sample of its legacy to humanity’s aesthetic and technical innovation. We are pawns and playthings in this transformation that will overflow into the annals of art history.

I’m having a difficult time getting the challenge’s new badge uploaded onto my homepage. I’ll keep at it. Meanwhile you can try one of these URLs: http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/320x240q90/844/x7dj.png/smaller version or http://imagizer.imageshack.us/v2/640x480q90/713/irgh.png/medium version.


Hope one works for you. I can get the badge as a widget onto the Homepage, but getting the right size and position are another matter.

In the Lens section is an ode to nature’s constancy in my life: a bench made into a sculptural object by light and shadow. The third element–snow–is a tour de force to emphasize the combination. As I walked in a local park, the symbiosis between them  drew me into their design.

Light and shadow are the photographer’s companion. Light cast a silent proclamation about (for example) positive and negative spaces, chaos and symmetry, the small and the large, the suspected and unsuspected, the known and unknown, variations in shades, and the continuum of our visual universe.

So I follow light to find shadows. I let them seduce my sensibilities and lasso my intentions.  Sometimes it is impossible to give a likeness to its magnificence. Sometimes the watching is enough. Or the image is too mammoth in character and size to fixate through my mind’s and camera’s lens.

Soft traces of shadows at twilight produce the slightest of hints, and it can be mesmerizing. Those sighs and signs of the day’s end also can be overly or subtlely dramatic.

Reactions to these evocative, illusionary and temporary absences of light are dependent on intensity and subject. The photogenic ones hold the lack of light, and expose the dark side. This duo of light and shadow provide ranges of whites and blacks, defining or ill-defining its subject.

Shadows whisper their folly or strength. They allude, seduce and temper our attention. Mostly, they form contours, silhouettes, outlines, profiles, and shapes that even in their reality intrigue us.

Each shadow becomes a memory–a memory of its temporary story. But a photograph records the observer’s vantage point, and insinuates what drew the eye to give it permanence.

Tip of the Week: I continue to revisit photographers that engage my attention, and discover new ones that enthrall. A favorite from the twentieth century is Harry Callahan (1912-1999), who had no formal training. Although Ansel Adams’ monolithic landscapes influenced his art, Callahan’s inspiration was found in any subject. He was known for experimentation in double and triple exposures, ethereal abstractions as well as emphasis on light and shadow. His legacy included groups of students that he taught at the Institute of Design in Detroit and the Rhode Island School of Design. In the March 18, 1999, obituary from The New York Times, Andy Grundberg said, “…he never believed that formal experimentation was an end in itself. Instead, he subscribed to the notion that the camera was a tool of personal revelation and expression, and all his experiments with the formal potentials of his medium bear the marks of a singular sensibility.” To see some of his masterful photographs, click here.

Harry Callahan, from masters of Photography website

Detroit, 1943, Harry Callahan, from Masters of Photography’s website

View other entries for today’s photo challenge here:























Note: As always I welcome any comment about this post or any part of my blog.

If you’d like to join the fun, please click here for details. If you have any questions about the Phoneography Challenge, please contact me.

Below is a reminder of the monthly schedule with themes for upcoming Phoneography Challenges:

1st Monday: Nature

2nd Monday: Macro

3rd Monday: Black and White

4th Monday Challenger’s Choice (Pick One: Abstraction, Animals, Architecture, Food Photography, Night Photography, Objects, Portraiture, Still Life, Street Photography, and Travel). (Animals and Objects are themes.)

5th Monday: Editing and Processing with Various Apps Using Themes from the Fourth Week (31 March 2014 will be the first challenge for this new theme).

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72 Responses to Celebrate the Challenge’s New Title=Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge: Object (Light and Shadow)

  1. I love these images, Sally, which are pure form and shapes. Very nice. And I think you did the right thing to keep the word phoneography in your title for the photo challenge – which most likely doesn’t come as a surprise for you. 🙂

    • Otto, yes, everyone’s thoughts, including yours, weighed into the decision. It was a tough call to make the title worthy of the next permutation in photography’s journey. Thanks so much.

  2. Beautiful patterns, texture and monochrome effect. The bench seemed to say,”Have a sit and I’ll tell you my story.” All the best to you and family.

  3. rabirius says:

    I like the framing of the pictures very much.

  4. basiga says:

    Congratulations on our new name for the challenge and the new challenge!
    I am late and early for Wk4 and Wk5. It’s been an unusual week for me. Happy Shooting!
    basiga from blogagaini

  5. Trifocal says:

    I would go for 2, and agree with what Rick says about it above. I guess the ripple effect in the shadows are the result of the snow drifting into wavy surfaces under the bench? Very nice effect in a striking picture.
    This challenge seems to have spread our votes between the pictures more than I remember seeing in most other sets, which if true, is interesting.

    • Yes, it’s a joy to discover the objective and subjective reasons for the selection of an image. It also helps to open us to others’ way of seeing. I really appreciate your comment. Thanks.


    I love how you geek out on photographic skills and knowledge, so beautiful.
    wish I had the time to participate in those ubercool challenges of yours. so, my first challenge: find time 😉

  7. livvy30 says:

    Lovely shots as always. I like the 3rd and 4th ones best. Here’s mine for this week. http://allkindsaeverything.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/non-slr-challaenge-light-and-shadow/

  8. Congrats for the new name. I think you’re really talented and I like all of them.

  9. Suzanne says:

    The challenge inspired me so much I’ve got a post up already. http://artifactsandfictions.wordpress.com/2014/03/26/house-hunting/

  10. Suzanne says:

    What a great challenge – I will be back with a contribution later. I couldn’t possibly pick which one of your photos I like the best – they are all great.

  11. thirdeyemom says:

    Just love these photos and the play on light and shadows! Fantastic!

  12. marialla says:

    My favourite is number 4!! Thank you very much for the interesting view points!!!

  13. elisa ruland says:

    I didn’t think the first image was of a bench at first, I assumed it was a sculpture. Very interesting shot….it was my favorite!

  14. Gracie says:

    Really cool, Sally! I like how the shadows give the additional details to the hidden parts of your subject.

  15. Dawn says:

    Callahan is a favorite of mine as well – Untitled – Chicago 1949 (the street with the curving white center line) is my screen saver shot on my work computer. 🙂
    Your words about shadow are so poetic this week. Lovely. My preference this week is for image one. I can understand the object and savor the shadow. The others I’m not as sure they are benches – perhaps window treatments came to mind.
    I can’t thank you enough for the joy this project has brought to my photography. You rock.

  16. pattimoed says:

    Hi Sally. Wow. The work of Harry Callahan –no relation to Dirty Harry 🙂 –is a real treasure. Thanks for posting about him! And your work highlighting light and shadow is terrific. My favorite is #4. –Patti

  17. aloha Sally. congratulations on the new title. fun.

    i like photograph #2. for me it has a balance and stability between light and dark, object and abstract that i like. the angle directions stabilize but do not halt my eye in circling around within the image. in that sense it feels good to explore over and over.

    #3 for me has an issue with forcing my eye too hard into the upper right hand corner. i may be over aware of this because i’m constantly battling this in my own work. for me there is not enough in the opposite direction to pull my eye back,or balance the effect, and i slip off the image too easily.

    #1 and #4 have a more stable composition yet they do not intrigue me the way #2 does. maybe i recognize the subject too much and this distracts from the abstract quality which i feel is the dominating sense that is going on in both images.

    interesting to me is that i chose light as well in my “object” focus. and. in my next post (i have yet to post it) i’m attempting what feels like a double exposure much as the Callahan image you’ve included with this post (i achieve mine in a very different way than Callahan did). i should have it up tomorrow (it’s for a different challenge).

    fun and onward with the new title. aloha. rick

    • Rick, I appreciate your thoughtful comment. Delighted that you are good with the new title. It’s done for the moment. Who knows the next iteration of tools to be added to our photographic bag. I’ll watch for your double exposure post. Thanks so much.

  18. Benches like this one always capture my attention too Sally. I really like the composition and reflection in #4.

  19. denasgoodlife says:

    This is a tough one Sally. I love the shadow on #2, but the reflection in #4 is so awesome. I love them both. I can’t just pick one. 🙂

  20. maryslow says:

    Although these are all very interesting, I love the value gradient of the first photo.

  21. ~meredith says:

    I love your discussion of light and shadow. You picked such a great subject to show the drama and subtleties, too. One and two seem very old Hollywood and have all the innuendo and suspense of focusing on an ordinary object. I love that. The whole series would be a great opening for one of Hitchcock’ s movies. Very cool. Meredith

  22. Jo says:

    I love them all, the first one drew me in though and I was glad they did. I adore shadows and reflections in photography and they work beautifully in mono. Lovely as always.

  23. Allan G. Smorra says:

    Here is my entry for this week’s challenge: http://wp.me/p24idL-1Sf
    Thanks for the opportunity to show some B&W night photos.

  24. Wonderful shadows from the bench. My favorite is the 4th photo.

  25. Great photos, once again! I believe I’m partial to the first one, though. And I like your new title choice! 😉

  26. FireBonnet says:

    Your pens section today has me entranced. (although I love #3… the rippling shadow is mesmerizing) I was going to try and find a favorite phrase you wrote, but would have to cut and paste about three paragraphs! Beautiful words for beautiful thoughts.
    As for the title, I’m going to continue to use Phoneography but use the new badge (and as always link to you).

  27. Sally — Another coin toss on your set, but I’ll lead a bit more toward #4. Like the effect you gave the shot. The background almost looks like freshly laid concrete.

  28. Sally I agree wit Tom about the length of the title. I understand why you use it. I hope you don’t mind if I keep using just Phoneography. Partly, because that is what I’m doing for now and I have a number of English language learners that follow my blog so I need to keep the title simple enough for them…
    As for you photos today. They work as a series the first three could be a triptich. How’s that for an art history word, that it seems I cant spell?

  29. Amy says:

    Great captures of the shads and lights, Sally! it’s very inspiring to learn more about phoneography!

  30. Angeline M says:

    Wonderful light and shadow, Sally. I think I like #2 the best with its strong dark bit of bench on the right and its strong lines, and the softer shadow on the left, showing a bit more of the bench; great juxtaposition.
    As always, thank you for the work you put in to this, and thanks for the intro to Harry Callahan; I’ll be off to look at his work today. Seeing other artist’s work is always such a great source of learning and inspiration.

  31. I really like Study of a Bench #3. Love the angle of the shadows and light.

  32. Sally, I’m also a big fan of shadows (as you may remember from some of my first Black and White responses that weren’t edited.) I really don’t know which of your photos I prefer this week and although I wish I had time to keep going back and forth until I (maybe) decided, I don’t. You’ll have to be content with me liking all of them.


  33. Sally — That is such a LONG title. Why not just go with Phoneography Challenge and be done with it. Doesn’t Phoneograpy mean photography via non traditional DSLR means?


    Sent from my iPhone


    • Tom, I wish that it did. But it doesn’t. Phoneography is clearly only the use of Smartphones, and is really becoming more and more mainstream. As long as you link to my blog, feel free to use just Phoneography Photo Challenge. I will always use the full title. I want people to have as much latitude as possible. Some people who participate in the challenge are using iPads and iPods. Who knows what the next device will be. See you soon. Thanks.

  34. thirdeyemom says:

    Wonderful! I love your amazing creativity! Your photography always inspires me. Lately I have not been receiving my posts via email. It is so strange. So I have to remember to come look in my Reader and see them there but I prefer getting them all sent via email so I can look at them and save them to read later if I need too. Very annoying! 🙂

  35. I keep trying to take an effective shot of shadows of benches. You have succeeded better than me so far. I must try harder!

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