I’ve been doing the various weekly photo challenges for a year or so now. I never take the cake, and seldom get a lot of good traffic from them (the kind of traffic that comes in and hangs around, rather than the kind that just shuffles past to the next entry for the week). But I’ve kept with them, though now I only participate if I’ve got a shot already that fits the current theme. I know that my aesthetics aren’t like those of most of the participants, and I’m fine with that; I’ve always liked blur and grain and atmosphere a lot more than digital precision and macro/micro detail.
Recently, though, I found a new weekly challenge, this one based in France, and I find it much more refreshing than the cacaphony of “me too!” pictures in the big challenges. B&W Challenge seems to attract pictures with a different sensibility, too, something a little quieter and subtler that invites longer consideration. Here are a few recent entries that I’ve really enjoyed:
There are a few things I don’t like about the site–it has a habit of opening far too many browser windows (I use Firefox, so I can right click and open in a new tab, that that’s a little frustrating, too), and it’s a little cluttered. But, at least until it becomes too popular (and with its focus on black & white photography, it may be spared the dilution of “me too!”ism), this is one of the best places to find new and fascinating photographers and styles.
I should also note that there’s another challenge site–Thursday Challenge–that consistently attracts high quality and fascinating pictures. It doesn’t have the voting/ranking/competition aspects of many of these challenges, and maybe that’s why the pictures are so good–they have nothing to prove.