During the last week or so I've been considering what I need to do next, as a photographer. I want to improve my photography, my creativity, my eye, my processing skills, etc. And I think I've developed an idea.
Although I'm not interested in changing my photography to meet a judges criteria, I am interested in creating photos with more impact. I'll focus on images that impact me, and if the judges are impacted too, all the better. Over the next year, I'm going to work through the different classes of photos in the fair, creating images in every category.
My goal is to better understand and interpret the category. For example, "Monochrome: Human Interest." What does that really mean? Obviously it's not a color photo, and by definition it "should include actions of animals or people." That's a pretty broad spectrum of possibilities. The important question then: How will I interpret a non-color photo showing actions of animals or people?
Another example, "Abstracts – lines, geometric forms, shapes and patterns that are enhanced but not manipulated. Enhanced means changes in color, tone, or ordinary darkroom techniques where elements have not been removed or added." Where will I find interesting lines, forms, shapes and patterns? How will I photograph them to create interest and impact?
I think it will be a good exercise for me. I may or may not end up entering any of them in next year's fair, but that's not the point. I'm not trying to create fair entries. I want to learn how to interpret an "assignment" and to shoot it with a definite plan of creativity.