Street Photo Assignment #2 – “Why?” Street Photography.

October 24, 2011

The first assignment was very practical and extremely defined. It challenged your normal street photography techniques and went further by setting tough rules like “no-cropping allowed”. Though it did seem a bit silly for some at the time, I’m happy to confirm that the feedback I got for it was actually very positive.

Since the first assignment came in with a bang, I want the second one to be more theoretical. Something that will not actually restrict you in any way or challenge you to try something new. This assignment, is all about answering the world’s simplest question: “Why?”.

“Because the atmosphere was magical.”

The Basics and Aim:

All you have to do is answer: “Why, did I take that shot?”  right after you take a picture. Please note that the question needs to be answered after you take a picture, not before. That means, do not question/analyse an opportunity any more than you would normally do. Seriously, this assignment is as simple as 1,2,3. In fact, it’s so easy, even if you are not thinking of participating, “why?” will still pop in your head. Don’t fight it, just answer it.

“Because I know that feeling…”

There’s no limitations on how many or how few pictures you can take nor any technical limitations. Just act like your good-old self. This, is a purely theoretical exercise and there is no right or wrong answer.

“Because the colours drew me in.”

So what’s the point of this you might ask? I’m very tempted to say, I would like you to answer that question individually after the assignment is over but let me drop in some thoughts.

By thinking of why you took a picture you will start understanding why you get drawn to the subjects you do, why you choose that particular angle instead of a different one, and what triggered you to think “This is a worthwhile shot”. Many times the answer can be straightforward like, “It was funny”, “It looked good”, “I liked the juxtaposition”. Other times, if you are being honest to yourself, the answer could be somewhat more en-lighting, like, “Thinking back, I was subconsciously influenced by xyz photographer and/or that specific picture.” xyz, need not necessarily be Henri Cartier Benson, who every street photographer and their dog aspire to. It could be a more modern popular photographer, or even, Joe from the block who’s work you’ve seen online. It really does not matter what the answer is as long as you are true to yourself.

“Because it felt right” (and though not even close, Kiss On V-day popped in my head)

What is certain, is that you will get a better understanding of where you stand as a photographer, what street photography (or any other genre) means to you and why you do what you do. Who knows? It might even help you understand the mystery that is “your style” and bit more. Think of it as active self-feedback.

Anyway, back to assignment. All you are asked to submit for this assignment is one picture with a short narrative on what prompted you to take that particular shot. If you want, you can also share your thoughts regarding the assignment and if it helped you, in any way. Deadlines and more details on how to submit can be found further down.

“Because there’s an inner child in everyone.”

The Catch(es):

No catches this time round, promise.

The Details & Rules:


  1. This is not a contest! It’s an assignment that aims to inspire.
  2. Adherence to the rules is self-regulated. As the purpose of the assignment is to improve your skills, if you cheat the rules, you’re only cheating yourself.
  3. Anyone can join the fun, it doesn’t matter what camera you use or where you live.
  4. Don’t forget to spread the word! If you can think of someone who would enjoy this assignment, point them to this direction. Alternatively, you can Tweet or Like the post.


  1. Final Submission Date/Time for pictures is Wednesday, 16/11/2011.
  2. Pictures can be B/W or Colour but must be shot on or after Monday, 24/10/2011.
  3. Any post processing is allowed.
  4. Maximum dimensions of submitted pictures are: 1100px wide for landscape orientation, 800px for portrait orientation. Maximum allowed file size per photo is 450KB. Click here to find out how to submit a photo and the conditions.
  5. Only one photo can be submitted per participant. If someone submits two or more pictures, only the last one submitted with be used.
  6. Submissions will be featured on this blog on Monday, 21/11/2011.

Finally, if you have any questions shout them out in the message box below.

There are 9 comments in this article:

  1. October 24, 2011Mike C says:

    Ooo…A new assignment. Great news!

    I shall endeavour to do my best for you fella :o)

  2. October 24, 2011Helder Ferreira says:

    Hmm.. let’s see if I participate on this one. :)

  3. October 24, 2011Christakis says:

    Cheers fellas, reading the article today, it might need some more clarification. Will try and post an example tomorrow, unfortunately 3G signal was rubbish at the hotel yesterday.

  4. October 25, 2011[Gm] says:

    I think this one is doable :D…

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