Recently I climbed onto a step stool for a photo shoot in order to take a photo from a bird perspective when, suddenly, I remembered something. I remembered that there was a time when I would climb, not a step stool, but mainly benches – week after week. I didn’t do this to take photos of things from the vantage point of the bench, but to photograph myself on top of it. It sounds crazy, and in some ways it is, but above everything else it was a lot of inspired photo fun!
Bench Monday was (and still is) a collective photo project. The rules are very simple: Stand on top of a bench or something like a bench, take a photo of yourself and share it each Monday with an international, “bench-mad” photo community.
When I stood on the ladder I remembered how much I had always enjoyed this activity. It was exciting to hunt for new, creative scenarios for a “bench shot” each week. During this time I “benched” with family and friends, but also by myself and nearly everywhere this was possible.
When standing on benches or something similar in public to take a self portrait, people passing would often stop and look puzzled, amused, and curious. But this was just one of the funny aspects of this project! It was easy to start talking with strangers. I am not sure whether all of them really understood what I was doing and why. Most of them probably thought I (or we) were simply mad. But that was OK. It was about having fun doing what we were doing. We climbed many benches and bench-like objects while traveling. Out of this came a whole series of special vacation snapshots which I love very much.
By the way, a tripod (could be a pocket-tripod to avoid having to lug around too much equipment) comes in very handy for this type of photo project, as does a remote release for the camera. Alternatively, a husband willing to take the photo is naturally also welcome, but unfortunately he won’t be able to join you standing on the bench.
I can’t believe that I had forgotten and lost track of Bench Monday all this time, because I actually see one of my favorite bench shots every day upon opening my blog – as title header. I’m happy that I remembered again. Therefore, just treat this post as a passionate plea for regular photo projects, particularly those that are creative and seem silly. They challenge, they are fun, they inspire and can even become a collective experience. Whether lying down courageously on your stomach, face down, in public on “Face Down Tuesday“, or whether you decide on a more documentary-style, very personal photo project like my fellow blogger Anna Sterntaler, who records her outfit every day in a self portrait on her Instagram. The possibilities are as manifold as the people who operate the cameras. What unites them is their enjoyment of photography.
I think I badly need to stand on benches and take self portraits once again. Truly.
How about you?
Nic has been a blogger since 2006. She loves traveling and good food. She is a freelance textile designer, compulsive DIY person, and passionate photographer.