More creative assignments

by Sue Dawson

WE JUST HAD another group critique call with our Mentorship groups, and I want to share their assignment photos with you. Alison and I just love this part of our programs, where I give an assignment, and each student can upload up to five images to show the group. Half the fun is seeing how each person interprets the assignment, which is purposely open-ended. My hope is always that they’ll broaden their scope, push boundaries, think creatively, and either use their own unique style, or try out a different one. 

This time my assignment was “on the road.” Here’s our favorite shot from each person:

Andrea Dawson shoots in the woods and fields of her Ohio neighborhood, using a shallow depth of field. For this shot, she stayed in the same environment, but pulled back to set this wintry scene, showing the textures and patterns she always sees in nature.


Beth Horstman was traveling, and decided to shoot the runway from inside her plane, at sunrise. 


Brooke Bartletta was also traveling over the holidays. She took this shot on a Colorado roadside, highlighting the monochromatic quality of rusty metal against winter grasses.


Dena Porter panned her urban landscape, and edited the shot to highlight the classic yellow of New York City streets. I especially love the “I ❤︎ NY” sign in the background.


Ilene Hertz usually focuses her camera on a lightbox in her studio, shooting botanical images that she arranges. This time she was inspired to use nature’s lightbox – shooting up, instead of down. It’s a natural extension of her work, that she discovered while walking “on the road” for this assignment.


Jackie Abodeely is a career police officer. When she heard the assignment she “knew immediately” what she would do. Officers on the force say they’re “going on the road” when they head out on patrol. Jackie’s inspired to do more on this subject.


Lucy has been working on a series of self-portraits with a narrative feel, evoking emotion and a personal sense of place.


Rob Skinnon shot this local greenhouse business on his way to work, using unique rooflines and geometric shapes to frame his composition. The arc of smoke coming from the chimneys makes this shot.


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