Back in my Yard

What started in the summer of 2011 as a fun little project has turned into quite a thing these many years later on. I am talking about my backyard photo project—a project familiar to regular readers of this blog.

The backyard project is almost a no-project. It was meant as an outlet for my experimentation and for me to push myself beyond my regular ways of seeing and photographing. Here I could step out of the all so infamous box and not have to worry about the result—because it is all about fun and playfulness, without any pressure or performance needs that have had to be met.

Doing this project, I have deliberately broken all the “rules” in the book. It’s been a way for me to keep my vision fresh. And after eight years, it has actually turned into a visually interesting and personal photo essay of sorts.

Last time I wrote about the photo projects, I took the approach as far out as possible. By swinging the camera forcefully when triggering the shutter and using a long shutter speed, I captured some unusual and abstract photos—to say the least. Last week I came around from the other direction. This time I tried to photograph as straight on and standard-like as possible, and challenged myself to see if I could still come up with something different.

This may not be the most thought-provoking result or even captivating at all. But I have still chosen to display a handful of images from this shoot, to show that not all we do have to be all that touching or appealing in order to work within a larger body of work. And even if the result isn’t as spectacular as one maybe would have liked to, there is always learning in every twist and turn of shooting—as long as we keep shooting.

If you haven’t seen my previous photos, here is the links to post about my backyard project: Backyard Frenzy, Backyard Abstraction, Shooting Sideways, Backyard Bliss, Experimental Backyard, My Photographic Retreat, My Backyard Project, My Personal Challenge, The World from the Backyard, Instagram my Backyard, Out of Comfort Zone and Challenge and Expand.

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70 thoughts on “Back in my Yard

  1. Rules are made specifically to be broken! Bravo on the project. I watch, read, enjoy, not always post, but love these photos most. I know!! Cuba pics are also grand, but these are intriguing. Forced, but not forced at all. To me, pure creativity. Hence, my kind of ART. 🤗

  2. I think your backyard project is a great way to extend or expand your photographic vision. The small area forces you to ‘think outside the box’ in order to capture something a little different.

    I really enjoyed viewing the images especially the last two.

    …..and it’s not as easy as one might think to find subject matter either.

    I challenged myself to photograph something in black and white indoors with my Last Light project and living in a small studio apartment and having no ornaments (I hate dusting) or flowers etc indoors made it a very hard challenge indeed 🙂

  3. All of your work is exceptional, particularly your people work. But this is my favorite work of yours, because so often we overlook what is right around us. Beauty and art are everywhere.

  4. I love the way the greenery is swallowing the outdoor furniture. The end result is a photo more interesting than a well-manicured landscape. I like this project, Otto, and I do recall when you first introduced it. Glad for the update. 🙂

    1. Of course all this greenery, shows that we haven’t put enough work into our backyard so far this year. 🙂 A little embarrassing, maybe. Nevertheless, I am glad you like result in terms of photos.

  5. I love projects like these, ones that make you think creatively. Of the ones in this post, it is that first photo that really appeals to me. I like the tones in it but also what is in focus and what isn’t hits a very nice balance in my opinion.

      1. Yes, that’s what I adore doing. I have a rather large gardening are for city living. It’s almost a half acre, so I have various exposures and habitats. Also I am fortunate to have protected parks within a short walk or drive. Many opportunities to meditate with Mother Nature.

  6. I like these quiet, atmospheric glimpses of a garden-realm, in part as an illustration of the inexorable-seeming changes in the natural world, when we’re no longer there to constantly cut and prune and shape things our way – – personally, I find it reassuring when nature reasserts itself.

    1. And I find your words reassuring. Like you, I like the idea of nature reasserting itself – particularly in times like these – but also knowing that gardens aren’t “suppose” to become completely wild.

  7. I am so curious to know what kind of camera you use and whether you still develop film or have gone full digital? Your pictures are beautiful. I haven’t had my camera out in a long time and it is inspiring to see your photos.

  8. What a testament your project has also been to the changing landscape of your backyard over the seasons. I’m enjoying the way you’ve framed these photos as if we were getting peaks into the human-made through nature’s structure.

  9. The first three feel both autumnal and deeply nostalgic. They’re filled with the kind of sweet ambivalence that seems to come as the season turns. My favorite photo is the last. It reminds me of old barns, old houses: tumbled down with the vines and grasses encroaching. Old cemeteries, too, with half-hidden stones — nature softening our constructed worlds.

  10. We learn with experimentation. It’s good to try to expand our view of things and the way we do things. I’m sure your backyard exploration can and will lead to some interesting work.

  11. After the will of Men its done, Nature, or some may call it entropy of an isolated system can never decrease over time. The total entropy of a system and its surroundings can remain constant in ideal cases where the system is in thermodynamic equilibrium or is undergoing a (fictive) reversible process.

    In any case Otto, you took advantage of it , with some good shots. 🙂

  12. Seems like the front and back yard have made up a substantial portion of my shooting this year – especially the macro. Your shots here are a lovely collection of colors and textures – they feel very autumn.

  13. A project which is not a project…love the idea…total freedom….we all need sometimes moments of total freedom in our creative activities…
    I like very much the last photo with something mechanical lost in the nature, it gives me a decadent feeling…

  14. I certainly remember the project and can imagine the challenge as year follows year. I love the last image here – the way the perspective is flattened and the colors. It really looks more like a collage than a photograph! The second and third photos also have that feeling of mixing up the planes of perspective. Cool!

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