My dream photo assignment

I’ve continued to noodle the idea of a “dream” photo assignment after seeing Microsoft’s name your dream assignment offer <;. I think this is something photographers should do on a regular basis because it gives us direction. Here’s my idea:

Extreme celebration: It’s not just a party

To celebrate is to be human. And festivals often have meaning and purpose beyond their  flamboyant personas…they can tell us where we’ve been and where we’re going. Through time, traditional celebrations have defined our commonalties and revealed our uniqueness. Collectively, festivals can offer a window on the world at large.

My dream photo assignment is to photograph a collection of the world’s most telling festivals. Just the thought of photos from the Sturgis motorcycle rally, New Zealand’s sheep sheering festival, Thailand’s Monkey Buffet, the Roswell UFO Festival, Mexico’s Noche de Brujas (night of the witches), Spain’s La Tomatino (world’s largest food fight)  and Greece’s Anastenaria fire-walking festival has my shutter finger twitching.

Hmong Festival, Luang Prabang, Laos.

Hmong Festival, Luang Prabang, Laos.

The current economic crisis has reinforced the real value of simple, traditional celebrations and the stories they tell.  In fact, the Wall Street Journal reported in March 2009 that “…storytelling experts say the phenomenon (family storytelling)  reflects a growing national interest in telling tales, evidenced by a rise in storytelling events and festivals.”

For me, a dream photo assignment must have great visual potential and be an engaging experience for the photographer. These two criteria work together to create a perfect storm of artistic opportunity and inspiration.  Festivals qualify on both counts.


~ by keithphilpott on March 13, 2009.

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